A new WWF-Canada study published in the scientific journal FACETS reveals that amphibians and reptiles face more threats than any other group of at-risk species in Canada.
WWF-Canada specialist Jessica Currie, who led the study, found that Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife (COSEWIC) assessed at-risk species across the country face five threats on average while amphibians and reptiles face seven threats on average. Of the 180 species analyzed in the report, wood turtles were among the most threatened species. Found in Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, this turtle faces nine out of 11 threats, leading to an overall decline in population.
Ranging from residential and commercial development, energy production and mining, and human intrusion to invasive species, pollution and climate change, there are a total of 11 threat categories as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
“From logging to housing to industrial and agricultural development, the impact of humans continues to be felt by nature,” says Currie.
“There’s still time to reverse the decline of wildlife, but we must be deliberate. As species are threatened by numerous compounding pressures, conservation action must address multiple threats at once.”
Biological Resource Use (BRU) was the most referenced threat, appearing in 76 per cent of the 180 reports analyzed. BRU refers to the direct harvest of plant or animal species, including deliberate take through logging, hunting or fishing, or unintentional harvest, such as accidental bycatch. Canadians have already shown overwhelming support to address the threat of unsustainable fishing in Canada, and now’s the time to put that commitment into action.