Ord’s kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ordii) COSEWIC assessment and status report: chapter 12

Existing Protection or Other Status Designations

Ord’s kangaroo rat was designated as a species of special concern by COSEWIC in 1995 (then termed vulnerable; Gummer 1995) due to its sparse distribution, disjunction from the nearest populations in Montana, and restricted sand dune habitats. The global heritage status rank for the species is G5 (demonstrably secure). The Alberta Natural Heritage Information Centre (ANHIC) and Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre (SCDC) both list the provincial status rank of Ord’s kangaroo rat as S2 (may be especially vulnerable to extirpation because of some factor of its biology). Nearest conspecifics to the south are listed by the Montana Natural Heritage Program as S4 (uncommon but not rare).

Ord’s kangaroo rat has been listed as endangered in Alberta under the Alberta Wildlife Act since May 2002. A provincial recovery plan (Alberta Ord’s kangaroo rat Recovery Team 2005) was accepted by a committee of stakeholders, and approved by the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development in 2005.

In Saskatchewan, the Wildlife Habitat Protection Act protects kangaroo rat habitat by preventing the clearing and breaking of Crown lands. Further protection, preventing cultivation and new industrial developments, has recently been provided to 366 km2 of kangaroo rat range in the Great Sand Hills under the Representative Areas Ecological Reserves Act (Saskatchewan Environment 2005).

A large portion (811 km2) of the Canadian range of Ord’s kangaroo rats occurs in CFB Suffield. There is no public access to this area and the Department of National Defence is committed to conducting military activities in an environmentally sustainable manner (DND 2003). Base Standing Orders currently do not permit activities within 250 m of kangaroo rat dens, based on the recommendations of Scobie and Faminow (2000). Slightly less than half of the distribution of kangaroo rats in CFB Suffield (376 km2) falls within lands designated as a National Wildlife Area (NWA) under the Canada Wildlife Act in 2003. All developments proposed to occur in the NWA require environmental assessments under the terms of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

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