August 9, 2002
(Tourism, Culture and Recreation)
Government protects 20 species under Endangered Species Act
Julie Bettney, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, announced today 20 plant and animal species which the province considers endangered, threatened or vulnerable will now receive special protection under the province’s Endangered Species Act.
"Government is committed to protecting and preserving species which are identified to be at risk," said Minister Bettney. "We want to ensure the appropriate measures are in place to protect species which are in danger of becoming extinct. This listing not only protects the species but also its residence."
Government’s decision to list these species follows the recommendations of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), an independent national committee of government and non-government scientists. COSEWIC determines the national status of wild species, subspecies and nationally significant populations that are considered to be at risk of extinction across their range in Canada. The COSEWIC evaluation process is independent, open and transparent, and based on the best available information on the biological status of species including scientific, community and traditional knowledge. COSEWIC is recognized under the Endangered Species Act as one of several sources whose recommendations government considers prior to listing a species.
COSEWIC’s recent evaluations identified 20 species in Newfoundland and Labrador which are either endangered, threatened or vulnerable. The species to be protected under the province’s Endangered Species Act are:
Endangered species: American marten - Newfoundland population, wolverine, piping plover, Eskimo curlew, Longs braya and barrens willow.
Threatened species: Fernalds braya, anatum peregrine falcon, and the three woodland caribou herds in Labrador - Mealy Mountain, Red Wine and Lac Joseph. COSEWIC had recommended the tundra peregrine falcon be listed as vulnerable; however, due to the difficulty to distinguish it from the threatened anatum peregrine falcon, the possibility the two may inter-breed and that their ranges may overlap, government decided to list both species as threatened to ensure their equal protection.
Vulnerable species: Banded killifish, Barrow’s goldeneye, Fernald’s milk-vetch, boreal felt lichen, harlequin duck, ivory gull, polar bear and short-eared owl.
"Each endangered and threatened species will be protected immediately under the act," said Minister Bettney. "Recovery teams comprised of wildlife managers, researchers and stakeholders are already in place and have started the recovery planning process for these endangered and threatened species." Under the legislation, recovery plans are required within a year for endangered species and within two years for threatened species. In a number of cases, recovery plans have already been completed.
Vulnerable species are usually sufficiently protected under other acts and regulations and therefore are not afforded the same level of protection under this act. However, if extra protections are necessary, regulations may be developed. Furthermore, the legislation states that management plans are required within three years for these species.
"Newfoundland and Labrador is home to some very unique and distinct species," said Minister Bettney. "We need to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to protect and preserve our diverse natural heritage for future generations."
Media contact: Carmel Turpin, Communications (709) 729-0928.
American marten - Newfoundland population (Martes
The American marten, also known as the pine marten, Newfoundland marten or marten cat, is endangered only on the island of Newfoundland. Most of the population occurs in the area of Little Grand Lake with other smaller populations located at Red Indian Lake, Glover Island, Main River and Terra Nova National Park.
Wolverine - eastern population (Gulo gulo)
The eastern population of the wolverine is thought to range throughout northern Quebec and most of Labrador. Historically wolverine were trapped throughout most of Labrador, however numbers of animals trapped declined early in the 20th century. There have been no confirmed records in Labrador since the 1950s, although there continues to be occasional unconfirmed sightings.
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus melodus)
In Newfoundland, the piping plover is only found on beaches of the southwest coast ranging from the Stephenville Crossing area in the north to Burgeo on the south coast. There are approximately 44 adult piping plovers nesting in Newfoundland.
Eskimo Curlew (Numenius borealis)
The Eskimo curlew nests in the Northwest Territories and winters in South America. During its fall migration, it passes through Newfoundland and Labrador where it stays for a brief period on the coastal barrens. There it fattens up on berries such as the crowberry prior to making its long migratory flight south. Total numbers are unknown and sightings, even unconfirmed ones, have been extremely rare.
The Long’s braya is endemic to the northwest coast of the Great Northern Peninsula. It is restricted to several small populations in a narrow band of limestone barren found along the coast. This plant has never been found anywhere else in the world. It is one of a unique set of species adapted to the harsh climate conditions and natural processes that characterize the coastal limestone barrens of the Strait of Belle Isle.
Barrens Willow (Salix jejuna)
Barrens willow is found on the northwest coast of the Great Northern Peninsula. It is restricted to a narrow band of limestone barren stretching along the coast near the tip of the peninsula. This plant has never been found anywhere else in the world. It is one of a unique set of species adapted to the harsh climate conditions and natural processes that characterize the coastal limestone barrens of the Strait of Belle Isle.
Fernald’s Braya (Braya fernaldii)
Fernald’s braya is endemic to the northwest coast of the Great Northern Peninsula. It is restricted to the narrow band of limestone barren found along the coast. This plant has never been found anywhere else in the world. It is one of a unique set of species adapted to the harsh climate conditions and natural processes that characterize the coastal limestone barrens of the Strait of Belle Isle.
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum)
The peregrine falcon nests along the coast of Labrador from Table Bay to Cape Chidley and along a number of the major rivers which offer suitable habitat. The anatum peregrine falcon which shares the area with the tundra peregrine falcon is thought to occupy that part of the Labrador peninsula south of the tree line. The peregrine is a bird of many superlatives. It flies the fastest, migrates great distances and lives in spectacular landscapes. Because of this, and the fact that it was at one point on the brink of extinction, it has become a symbol of wilderness, endangerment and now recovery.
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus tundrius)
Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus
The woodland caribou is one of the most primitive members of the deer family. It has a large, blond muzzle, well-covered with fur, short wide ears and a small heavily furred tail. Its compact body is covered with thick and long fur. It has large crescent-shaped, cloven hooves which are adapted to walking in snow and bogs.
Banded Killifish (Fundulus diaphanus)
This little fish, similar to a mummichog, is known from a limited number of sites in the province - on the west and northeast coasts and the Burin Peninsula. It is isolated from mainland populations and is now being looked at as a possible sub-species.
Barrows Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica)
This duck represents an important proportion of the wintering waterfowl population in the St. Lawrence estuary. While it breeds in Quebec, it is possible that some breeding may also occur on the island of Newfoundland. Molting groups have been found as far north as Little Ramah Bay in Labrador. It winters in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with small numbers along the Atlantic coast including the coast of the island of Newfoundland.
Fernald’s Milk-vetch (Astragalus
robbinsii var. fernaldii)
Fernald’s milk-vetch is known only from the Strait of Belle Isle region of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The bulk of the known population occurs in the Blanc Sablon area of Quebec. Similar habitats occur in Southern Labrador. A disjunct population of Fernald’s milk-vetch is known from the highlands of St. John on the Northern Peninsula where it was recently rediscovered. It is associated with exposed, calcareous habitats, which are relatively rare in Labrador and on the island of Newfoundland.
Harlequin Duck (Histrionucus histrionucus)
The eastern population breeds mostly in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. It winters along the eastern seaboard of the U.S.A., the Atlantic provinces and Greenland. Cape St. Mary’s is the main wintering site in this province. This little, colourful duck is known locally as "Lords and Ladies".
Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea)
In Canada, the polar bear occupies ice-covered areas from Labrador to the Alaskan border. It occasionally moves south to the island of Newfoundland, usually on spring ice but moves north again. It is the largest mammalian predator in the north. The polar bear inspires both awe and respect and in recent years have become the early warning for the effects of global warming.
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Boreal Felt Lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum)
The boreal felt lichen grows in suboceanic forest regions of Newfoundland. The known population is concentrated in two areas - the central Avalon and Bay d’Espoir. This species is the only known boreal member of an otherwise strictly tropical group of lichens of very ancient origin. It once had a global Amphi-Atlantic distribution with populations occurring in Scandinavia and in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. It appears the species is now absent from Scandinavia and has experienced drastic declines in the Maritimes. The health of the Newfoundland population is pivotal to the global survival of the species. In addition, the boreal felt lichen can be an excellent indicator to monitor changes in air quality; it is one of our lichen species with the highest degree of sensitivity to air pollution.
2002 08 09 10:45 a.m.