Species of special interest

Status of wildlife in Canada

Graphic thumbnail: status of wildlife in Canada

This stacked bar chart shows the proportion of native species in each endangerment category (At Risk, May be at Risk, Sensitive, or Secure) in 2010 by taxonomic group. A table of the results for all taxonomic groups is provided below.

 % At risk% May be at risk% Sensitive% Secure
Freshwater mussels23.511.825.539.2
Vascular plants3.71213.171.2
All species2.99.411.176.7

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Amphibians in the Great Lakes Basin

Graphic thumbnail: amphibians in the Great Lakes Basin

This graphic contains 8 line graphs displaying the annual occurrence index (percent of monitoring stations where the species was recorded) for eight species of amphibians, from 1995 to 2007. There is a photo of each species on each graph and also a photo showing amphibian habitat – wetlands in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario. The overall trends varied, with some declines and some species without clear trends over the relatively short period of record.

The graphs are described in the following set of points:

  1. American toad: a significant decline (recorded at approximately 57% of stations in 1995 and at 40% of stations in 2007);
  2. western chorus frog: a significant decline (at 75% of stations in 1995 and at approximately 45% of stations in 2007);
  3. northern leopard frog: overall a significant decline, with increases through the mid 1990s from being recorded at approximately 35% of sites to approximately 65% of sites, then a decrease, with the index fluctuating around 35% after 2000;
  4. bullfrog: fluctuations, with slightly higher values in the first 4 years of record but no significant trend (with the species recorded at approximately 50% of sites in 1995 and approximately 45% of sites in 2007);
  5. gray treefrog: no significant trend; a sharp initial increase from fewer than 60% of sites in 1995 to just fewer than 80% in 1996, followed by fluctuating levels, with some indication of declines in the most recent years (index values for 2004 through 2007 being approximately 77%, 60%, 60% and 55%).
  6. spring peeper: no trend; present at the same percentage of monitoring stations in 1995 as in 2007 (approximately 70%), but showing large increases and declines in the years between, reaching an index value of approximately 95% in three years
  7. wood frog: no trend; found at a consistently lower number of stations than other amphibians recorded; fluctuating between approximately 22% and 40% over the 12 years. In 1995 wood frogs were recorded at approximately 30% of stations and in 2007 they were recorded at approximately 35% of stations; and
  8. green frog: overall significant decline; a sharp increase from approximately 70% of sites in 1995 to approximately 90% in the late 1990s, followed by a sharp decline to approximately 55% in 2000, followed by fluctuations since 2000 between 55% and 70%.

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Freshwater and diadromous fishes at risk

Graphic thumbnail: freshwater and diadromous fishes at risk

This bar graph shows the number of Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern species of freshwater and diadromous fish in 1980, 1999, 2000, and 2010. In 1980 fewer than 5 species fell under these “at risk” categories; by 1999 the number had increased to 42 species, increasing again by 2000 to 60 species. By 2010, 80 species were classified as being at risk.

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White sturgeon, Nechako River populations

Graphic thumbnail: white sturgeon, Nechako River populations

This line graph plots an index of juvenile production for white sturgeon in the Nechako River from 1945 to 1990. The building of the Kenney Dam in 1952 and the following 5 year period during which the reservoir filled are marked on the graph, as are the dates of two slides into the upper Nechako River near Cheslatta Falls in 1961 and 1972. 1950 marked the beginning of a sharp increase in juvenile production, increasing from an index value of 50 in 1949 to 250 in 1953. From 1953 to 1963, annual juvenile production fluctuated widely and then began a rapid decline from 1964 to 1967. From 1967 to 1990 the index of juvenile production remained close to 0 with little variation.

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American Eel in Ontario

Graphic thumbnail: American Eel in Ontario

This line graph shows the average number of eels per day counted at a fish ladder at the R.H. Saunders Hydroelectric Dam, near Cornwall, Ontario, from 1974 to 2005. The number of eels fluctuates annually but increased from fewer than 10,000 in 1974 to over 25,000 in 1982, and then declined sharply to 1986 when declines continued but at a slower rate. Between 1995 and 2005, the number of eels remained at very low levels, well under 500 per day.

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Fraser river sockeye returns

Graphic thumbnail: fraser river sockeye returns

This graphic consists of four bar charts showing the numbers of returning salmon from 1952 to 2009. Each chart represents a cohort of hatched fish and is described in the following set of points:

  1. 1952 to 2008 cohort. Returns were low relative to other cohorts throughout the 58-year period, reaching just over 5 million in 1984 and 1992.
  2. 1953 to 2009 cohort. Returns fluctuated around 5 million until 1976 when the returns begin to increase, reaching approximately 24 million in 1992.
  3. 1954 to 2006 cohort. Relatively high numbers of returns, approximately 12 million in 1952 and approximately 17 million in 1954, decreasing to approximately 3 million in 1960. This cohort’s returns began to increase to approximately 22 million in 1988 from which point the numbers declined again to approximately 13 million in 2004.
  4. 1955 to 2007 cohort. Did not reach the highs of the 1953 to 2009 cohort or the 1954 to 2006 cohort, but the returns were generally higher than the 1952 to 2008 cohort. In 1988 returns reached a peak of approximately 13 million, but otherwise remained below 7 million, with a low of approximately 1 million in 2004.

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Fraser River sockeye survival

Graphic thumbnail: Fraser River sockeye survival

This line graph displays annual sockeye survival as a productivity index measured as the number of returns per spawner. The graph plots the four-year running average from 1952 to 2008. Returns fluctuated over this period, reaching highs of approximately 7 million in 1960 and 1987 with a dip to over just over million in the mid 1960s. After 1992 returns showed a strong decreasing trend, with little fluctuation, reaching a low of approximately 1.5 million in 2007 and 2008.

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Atlantic salmon population trends

Graphic thumbnail: Atlantic salmon population trends

This graphic contains four plot graphs showing the number of Atlantic salmon returning to four rivers in the Atlantic Maritime from 1970 to 2005. Overall, all rivers show a decreasing trends since about 1990 with very low  returns in recent years. Data are plotted as annual points, with no trend lines. The accompanying map shows the watershed each river is a part of.

Each graph is described in the following set of points, by location:

  1. North River, part of the East Cape Breton watershed. Fewer than 1,000 fish returned annually until 1985 when the number of returns was between 1,000 and over 2,000. After the early 1990s numbers declined, reaching a low of approximately 100, and rising again to close to 500 in 2005.
  2. LaHave River, in the Southern Uplands watershed. Returning fish numbers increased from approximately 100 in the early 1970s to almost 8,000 in the late 1980s and then declined to consistent values of approximately 1,000 annually in the 1990s and 2000s.
  3. Stewiacke River, in the Inner Bay of Fundy watershed. Annual returns were distributed widely from 3,000 to 50. Following 1990 the numbers were consistently very low.
  4. St. John River, in the Outer Bay of Fundy watershed. The number of returning salmon ranged from 5,000 to 20,000 until approximately 1994, after which returns consistently remained at fewer than 5,000.

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Prey fishes in the Great Lakes

Graphic thumbnail: prey fishes in the Great Lakes

This graphic consists of five line graphs and an associated map of the Great Lakes. The graphs display the trends in prey fish biomass in each Great Lake, based on annual bottom trawl surveys. Four of the five graphs show large biomass declines, especially in recent years. Time frames and measurement units vary from graph to graph.

Each graph is described in the following set of points, by location:

  1. Lake Superior, 1978 to 2007. The mean biomass of prey fish showed an overall pattern of increasing and then declining. In the early 1980s the mean biomass dipped to approximately 2 kilograms per hectare and then increased to fluctuate over a range of about 12 to 20 kilograms per hectare from 1986 to 1994. Values then decreased, fluctuating over a range of about 4 to 8 kilograms per hectare from 1996 to 2007.
  2. Lake Huron, 1992 to 2007. Biomass declined steadily from a peak of 300 kilotonnes in 1994 to approximately 40 kilotonnes in 2007.
  3. Lake Ontario, 1978 to 2007. Biomass of prey fish increased in the first years, with values of about 20 kilograms per trawl tow in 1974 and over 120 kilograms per trawl tow in 1981. From that point, biomass declined steeply, reaching approximately 10 kilograms per trawl tow in 2006 and 2007.
  4. Lake Michigan, 1973 to 2007. The trend was one of overall increase followed by decline. Values in the first 5 years of sampling were in the range of 100 to 120 kilotonnes. A steady increase, starting in1978, reached a peak in 1983 of approximately 450 kilotonnes. Biomass then declined steadily to low values of around 40 kilotonnes by 2007.
  5. Lake Erie, 1987 to 2007. Prey fish biomass showed no clear overall trend or pattern. In 1987 biomass was approximately 50 kilotonnes and in 2007 biomass was approximately 70 kilotonnes. In the years between, values fluctuated between a high of more than 80 kilotonnes and a low of approximately 20 kilotonnes.

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Commercial fish production in Lake Winnipeg

Graphic thumbnail: commercial fish production in Lake Winnipeg

This line graph shows production for three species of commercial fish (walleye, whitefish, and sauger) in Lake Winnipeg, as well as the total fish production, from 1883 to 2006.

The four lines on the graph show the following:

  1. The total amount of fish harvested was highly variable, but generally increased from the late 19th century to a peak around 1940, then declined until about 1970 to a low of less than 500 tonnes. This was followed by an increase over the 1970s and by a period of fairly stable values in the range of 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes through the 1990s and to 2006.
  2. Walleye production was variable, mainly fluctuating at levels below 1,000 tonnes until the late 1990s, when the fishery increased, reaching a production of approximately 4,500 tonnes in 2006.
  3. Whitefish production was also highly variable and shows no overall trend. Production was generally within the range of a few hundred to below 2,000 tonnes, with peaks of approximately 3,500 in 1905 and 1936. In 2006 production was approximately 1,500 tonnes.
  4. Sauger production, which started in the late 1920s, increased rapidly to approximately 4,500 tonnes in 1941. The production declined from the peak and remained fairly stable at around 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes from the 1950s through the 1980s. Production declined steadily from 1990 to 2006 when production was approximately 500.

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Recreational freshwater fishing

Graphic thumbnail: recreational freshwater fishing

This bar graph shows the number of fish caught and the number of fish retained in the recreational freshwater fishery in 1995, 2000, and 2005, indicating declines in both measures over the ten-year period. In 1995 approximately 250 million fish were caught and approximately 110 million were retained. In 2000 approximately 230 million fish were caught and approximately 80 million fish were retained. In 2005 approximately 220 million fish were caught, and approximately 60 million were retained.

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Trends in status of breeding seabird populations in Canada

Graphic thumbnail: trends in status of breeding seabird populations in Canada

This bar graph shows the number of breeding seabird populations in Canada that were increasing, stable, and decreasing in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. It shows three bars for each decade. Overall there was a decline in the number of increasing populations and an increase in the number of decreasing populations. In the 1980s, 10 populations were increasing, 3 were stable, and 10 were decreasing. In the 1990s, 8 populations were increasing, 2 were stable, and 14 were decreasing. In the 2000s, 6 populations were increasing, 3 were stable, and 14 were decreasing.

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Landbird populations in Canada

Graphic thumbnail: landbird populations in Canada

This bar graph shows the percent change of Canadian landbird populations in five habitat types from the 1970s to the 2000s. Overall, populations of landbirds in all habitats experienced significant declines except forest birds which showed a non-significant decline of 10% overall. Grassland birds suffered the greatest overall declines at 44%. Birds of other open habitats declined by 42%, urban birds by 22%, and shrub birds by 17%.

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Population trends for ring-necked ducks and scaup, western boreal region

Graphic thumbnail: population trends for ring-necked ducks and scaup, western boreal region

This graphic contains two line graphs showing population trends for ring-necked ducks and scaup from 1961 to 2009. An inset map of Canada shows the location of the western boreal region, which is the survey area. Despite annual fluctuations in both species, the population of ring-necked duck increased significantly from approximately 200,000 in 1961, to approximately 1.1 million in 2009, while scaup declined significantly over the same time period. With a population fluctuating around 3.5 million between 1961 and 1970, scaup increased in 1971 to over 6 million, and then showed a steady decline to a low of 3.7 million in 2008.

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Caribou of the Arctic and taiga population trends

Graphic thumbnail: caribou of the Arctic and taiga population trends

This map of Canada and Alaska displays the ranges of North American northern caribou herds and their population trends based on information available in August 2010. Question marks on the map indicate some herds as being "under study", meaning that there was a recent census in progress or not yet fully analyzed at the cut-off date for results for this report. Herds for which the trend was based on preliminary data are indicated with an asterisk. Herds are listed here roughly from west to east: In Alaska, the Western Arctic herd is stable; the Teshekpuk Lake herd is increasing; the Central Arctic herd is increasing; and the Porcupine herd (with a range straddling northeast Alaska and the Canadian northwest) is declining. The Cape Bathurst herd is stable, the Bluenose West herd is stable the Bluenose East herd is increasing, the Bathurst herd is declining, the Ahiak herd’s status is unknown, the Beverly herd is declining and under study, the Qamanirjuaq herd is declining, and the Southampton herd is declining. Peary caribou, inhabiting the High Arctic islands, are decreasing. The Dolphin and Union herd is decreasing; the Lorillard herd's trend is unknown and under study; the Wager Bay herd is decreasing and marked as under study. Northern Baffin Island caribou are declining, based on preliminary data, and southern Baffin Island caribou are declining and are currently under study. Along the south of Hudson Bay, the Cape Churchill herd is stable and the Pen Island herd is decreasing; the status of the Coats Island herd is unknown and under study. On the Ungava Peninsula, the Leaf River herd is increasing and under study and the George River herd is declining and under study.

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Forest-dwelling woodland caribou population status

Graphic thumbnail: forest-dwelling woodland caribou population status

This graphic contains a map of Canada showing the range of five populations of forest-dwelling woodland caribou and the status and trends of each population. The map also shows the historical southern boundary of caribou ranges. Current ranges have retracted north of this boundary. In western Canada the historical range excluded the Pacific Maritime and extended south including a portion of the U.S. Rockies. Moving east, the southern boundary followed the boundary of the Prairie Ecozone+ and then dipped into the U.S. side of Lake Superior and cut across southern Ontario just north of the Boreal Shield/Mixedwood Plains border before dipping back into the U.S. near the Ontario and Quebec border.

Associated with each population shown on the map is a bar graph displaying the population trends for each population as well as its COSEWIC status.

Information on status and trends of each population is displayed either as a graph or in note form, as described in the following set of points:

  1. The Northern mountain population had 4 herds increasing, 7 stable, 2 decreasing, and 23 unknown in 2010 (reference 19). Its COSEWIC status is Special Concern. Its current range includes much of the Boreal Cordillera and southern the Taiga Cordillera.
  2. The boreal population had 3 herds increasing, 16 stable, 17 decreasing and 21 herds unknown in 2008 (reference 17). Its COSEWIC status is Threatened. The current range of this population extends broadly through the boreal and taiga forested regions of Canada covering most of the Taiga Plains, the eastern portion of the Boreal Plains, the northern portion of the Boreal Shield, southern portion of the Taiga Shield in Quebec, and the southern part of the Hudson Plains.
  3. The southern mountain population had 13 of 19 herds decreasing in 2002 (reference 18). Its COSEWIC status is Threatened. The population’s current range is in three main areas within the Montane Cordillera Ecozone+, with a few small remnant patches in the southern Montane Cordillera. As of 2002, the range in B.C. had decreased by up to 40% (reference 18).
  4. The Atlantic-Gaspésie population had fewer than 200 adults in 2002 and the current population is isolated in a fraction of its original range (reference 18). The range of this population is shown as a line pointing to the Gaspé region of Quebec.
  5. The Insular Newfoundland population had 1 of 27 herds declining in 2002 (reference 18). The range of this population is shown as a line pointing to the island of Newfoundland.

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