February 20, 2006
(Environment and Conservation)
New species to be protected under Endangered Species Act
Environment and Conservation Minister Tom Osborne today announced that the Gray-cheeked Thrush has been listed as vulnerable under the province�s Endangered Species Act.
Minister Osborne said the recommendation to list the Gray-cheeked Thrush as vulnerable was made by the Species Status Advisory Committee (SSAC). The SSAC was created under the province's Endangered Species Act to carry out status assessment of species of provincial concern.
The Gray-cheeked Thrush is a slightly larger than our other thrushes but a little smaller than a robin. Its upper parts are olive brown and the breast is spotted. This bird prefers dense low coniferous forest however can be found in other types of coniferous woodlands.
The provincial population size is unknown; however, the trends in populations in Canada indicate a strong negative downward trend. Anecdotal reports in this province suggests local declines. Gray-cheeked thrush declines may be related to habitat loss, both on the breeding and wintering grounds and nest predation.
The minister noted that the Endangered Species Act requires a management plan to be prepared within three years of listing. The Department of Environment and Conservation will lead in the development of the plan in consultation with others. "The species is not threatened or endangered," said Minister Osborne, "but will require close monitoring to ensure it does not become so. A management plan will identify actions to ensure the species continued survival on our landscape."
Minister Osborne said listing this species under the Endangered Species Act reaffirms the province�s commitment to protecting our environment and natural heritage.
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSWEIC) also recommended to list the Mountain Holly Fern as a threatened species. Government considered the recommendation and has decided at this time not to list the Mountain Holly Fern as it has been 55 years since its presence has been confirmed in the province. "If the presence of this fern is firmly established in the province, government will reconsider listing the species," said Minister Osborne. Newfoundland is one of three areas in Canada where the Mountain Holly Fern has ever been recorded.
For more information on endangered species, contact Joe Brazil, Senior Manager, Endangered Species and Biodiversity at 709-637-2356 or visit //www.env.gov.nl.ca/env/wildlife/wildlife_at_risk.htm.
Media contact: Tina Coffey, Communications, (709) 729-5783, 728-8650
2006 02 20 10:35 a.m.
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