COSEWIC wildlife species assessments (detailed version), April 2018

Report displays details on most recent wildlife species assessments. Information in status reports is used to assess the risk status of each wildlife species. Specific criteria and guidelines are used.1

Results are grouped by taxon and then by status category. The range of occurrence in Canada (by province, territory, or ocean) and history of status designation are provided for each wildlife species.

Amphibians

Common name: Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander (Appalachian population)
Scientific name: Desmognathus ochrophaeus
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v)
Reason for designation: This salamander with aquatic larvae inhabits forested brooks, cascades, springs, and seeps, where there is abundant cover in the form of crevices between stones, logs, or leaf litter. Its entire Canadian distribution is confined to a small area at Covey Hill, Québec, and is isolated from other populations in Canada and in the United States. Its small range makes this salamander highly susceptible to environmental fluctuations and chance events, and effects of various human activities. All occupied streams emanate from a single water source and are thus vulnerable to any activities or events that could lead to drying of habitats or contamination of the water source. Within the past decade, increased survey efforts have allowed better delineation of occupied areas and clarified threats, but substantial threats remain, and the risk to the population has increased due to increasing demand for water.
Range: Quebec
Status history: The species was considered a single unit and designated special concern in April 1998. Status re-examined and designated threatened in November 2001. Split into two populations in April 2007. The Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population was designated threatened in April 2007. Population name changed to Appalachian population in April 2018; status re-examined and designated endangered.

Common name: Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander (Carolinian population)
Scientific name: Desmognathus ochrophaeus
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v); C2a(i); D1
Reason for designation: This salamander with aquatic larvae inhabits forested brooks, cascades, springs, and seeps, where there is abundant cover in the form of crevices between stones, logs, or leaf litter. Its entire Canadian distribution is confined to two streams within a small area of Niagara Gorge, Ontario, and is isolated from other populations in Canada and in the United States. Increased survey effort within the past decade has expanded the known area of occupancy from one to two streams. However, the small range and population size, probably fewer than 100 adults, makes this salamander highly susceptible to environmental fluctuations and chance events, and effects of human activities. The population would be lost if the groundwater flow or water quality in the two streams would become compromised by human activities or effects of climate change.
Range: Ontario
Status history: The species was considered a single unit and designated special concern in April 1998 . Split into two populations in April 2007. The Carolinian population was designated endangered in April 2007. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Spring Salamander (Carolinian population)
Scientific name: Gyrinophilus porphyriticus
Status: Data deficient
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: The historical presence of this salamander in Ontario is based on a record comprising three specimens dating from 1877. Only one of the three museum specimens associated with this record remains. The identification of this specimen cannot be ascertained with confidence due to its early developmental stage and poor present condition. While the possibility remains that this is a native species to Ontario and the Carolinian population is valid, this cannot be confirmed at present.
Range: Ontario
Status history: The species was considered a single unit and designated special concern in April 1999 and May 2002. Split into two populations in May 2011. The Carolinian population was designated Extirpated in May 2011. Species considered in April 2018 and placed in the data deficient category.

Arthropods

Common name: False-foxglove Sun Moth
Scientific name: Pyrrhia aurantiago
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: B2ab(iii,v)
Reason for designation: This rare moth is extant at three locations in Canada, all within the oak-dominated savannas and open woodlands of southern Ontario. It is estimated that 99% of this habitat type has been lost in Ontario. The larvae depend on Smooth Yellow False Foxglove and Fern-leaved Yellow False Foxglove, both of which are species at risk in Canada. Canadian subpopulations of this moth are mostly in protected areas where the primary threats are over-browsing of the larval host plants by native White-tailed Deer and the effects of competition from invasive plants on the host plants.
Range: Ontario
Status history: Designated endangered in April 2018.

Common name: Red-tailed Leafhopper (Prairie population)
Scientific name: Aflexia rubranura
Status: Special concern
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: This flightless leafhopper has limited dispersal ability. It is restricted to remnant oak savanna grassland habitat in southern Manitoba, a habitat that has largely been lost from the province. It relies on the presence of the host plant Prairie Dropseed. The species is known from 8 sites at present, but there are likely to be additional sites found. Current and cumulative threats include agricultural habitat conversion and native and non-native plant succession from fire suppression and overgrazing.
Range: Manitoba
Status history: Designated special concern in April 2018.

Birds

Common name: Coastal Vesper Sparrow
Scientific name: Pooecetes gramineus affinis
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: A2ac; B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v); C2a(i); D1
Reason for designation:This songbird is a distinct subspecies limited to the Pacific coastal plains of western North America, breeding in sparsely vegetated grasslands with scattered trees or shrubs and patches of bare soil. Its numbers are declining throughout its range, due to loss and degradation of breeding and wintering habitat. Despite targetted surveys, no breeding attempts have been confirmed in Canada since 2014, and the current Canadian population is near zero. Remaining patches of suitable nesting habitat are scarce on southeastern Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and continue to decline in extent and quality.
Range: British Columbia
Status history: Designated endangered in April 2006. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Red-headed Woodpecker
Scientific name: Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: Meets Threatened, C1, but designated Endangered because the Canadian population is likely a sink dependent on immigration from a declining population in the United States.
Reason for designation: This boldly patterned woodpecker, which inhabits open deciduous forests, has experienced a substantial long-term population reduction. This decline is associated primarily with reduced quality of breeding habitat, particularly the loss of standing dead trees needed for nesting, fly-catching, and food caching. Other threats include increased competition for nest sites from native and non-native bird species. The Canadian population is now likely less than 6,000 mature individuals, almost all in Manitoba and Ontario. It appears to not be self-sustaining, and ongoing declines may accelerate given that numbers are also decreasing in adjacent parts of the U.S. range.
Range: Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec
Status history: Designated special concern in April 1996. Status re-examined and designated threatened in April 2007. Status re-examined and designated endangered in April 2018.

Common name: Streaked Horned Lark
Scientific name: Eremophila alpestris strigata
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii); D1
Reason for designation: This songbird is restricted to the Pacific coastal plains of western North America and is globally at risk. It is dependent on open natural or anthropogenically modified, sparsely vegetated grasslands or other areas with bare ground. It was last confirmed breeding in Canada in 1978, with the most recent indications of potential breeding in 2002; the current Canadian population is likely zero. However, the small subspecies breeds in Washington State and patches of potentially suitable habitat remain on Vancouver Island and in the lower Fraser River Valley in British Columbia, although these continue to decline in both extent and quality. The primary threats to this subspecies in Canada are habitat loss and degradation due to urban development, intensified agricultural practices, invasive plant incursions, coastline management activities, and recreational disturbance.
Range: British Columbia
Status history: Designated endangered in November 2003. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Chimney Swift
Scientific name: Chaetura pelagica
Status: Threatened
Assessment criteria: A2bce+4bce
Reason for designation: This aerial insectivore is a long-distance migrant, breeding in central and eastern Canada and wintering in South America. It has experienced a long-term population decline of close to 90% since 1970 in areas outside towns and cities, including a reduction of 49% over the past three generations (14 years). However, most roost counts in towns and urban areas show relatively stable numbers. A significant cause of decline is the reduced availability of aerial insects, likely due to the effects of agricultural and other pesticides, changing agricultural practices, and broad-scale ecosystem modifications in much of its breeding, migratory and wintering range. Reduced availability of roosting and nesting sites in chimneys and similar human-made structures, and in large hollow trees, is also likely contributing to declines. Greater frequency and severity of weather extremes may be reducing productivity, and increasing mortality during migration.
Range: Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
Status history: Designated threatened in April 2007. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Common Nighthawk
Scientific name: Chordeiles minor
Status:Special concern
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: This aerial insectivore is a widespread bird across southern and boreal Canada. Its population in southern Canada has declined by 68% since 1970, but the rate of decline has slowed appreciably over the past decade, and the species appears to be quite abundant in suitable boreal habitats. Concerns remain over the effects of human activities and changing climates in reducing food and nest-site availability. The causes of decline are not well known, but include threats that reduce the numbers of aerial insects on which this species forages, which can be attributed to agricultural and other pesticides, and changes in precipitation, temperature and hydrological regimes. An increasing frequency of severe or extreme weather events is also likely impacting this species by reducing its productivity and increasing mortality.
Range: Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador
Status history: Designated threatened in April 2007. Status re-examined and designated special concern in April 2018.

Common name: Olive-sided Flycatcher
Scientific name: Contopus cooperi
Status: Special concern
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation:The Canadian population of this widespread forest songbird has experienced a substantial long-term decline, although the rate of decrease has slowed over the past decade. Loss of wintering habitat in northern South America is likely the greatest threat facing this aerial insectivore, but the species may also be affected by changes on the breeding grounds such as the effects of altered fire regimes and climate change on nesting habitat quality, and reductions in the abundance and availability of aerial insect prey. Concerns for its status remain, as most of these threats are continuing, and those related to climate change may increase.
Range: Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador
Status history: Designated threatened in November 2007. Status re-examined and designated special concern in April 2018.

Fishes

Common name: Lake Whitefish (Como Lake small-bodied population)
Scientific name: Coregonus clupeaformis
Status: Extinct
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: Lake Whitefish are a species complex that has coevolved in certain lakes as species pairs—a larger species and a smaller species. This particular species is known only from Como Lake, Ontario. Both species in the Como Lake pair have become extinct, likely in response to the introduction of an efficient invertebrate planktivore, the Spiny Waterflea. This aquatic invasive species has altered the food-web structure of the lake, eliminating the unique evolutionary processes that maintained the persistence of the species pair. Whitefish still occur in the lake, but the distinct species pair has become a different, more uniform population of large fish.
Range: Ontario
Status history: Designated extinct in April 2018.

Common name: Lake Whitefish (Como Lake large-bodied population)
Scientific name: Coregonus clupeaformis
Status: Extinct
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: Lake Whitefish are a species complex that has coevolved in certain lakes as species pairs—a larger species and a smaller species. This particular species is known only from Como Lake, Ontario. Both species in the Como Lake pair have become extinct, likely in response to the introduction of an efficient invertebrate planktivore, the Spiny Waterflea. This aquatic invasive species has altered the food-web structure of the lake, eliminating the unique evolutionary processes that maintained the persistence of the species pair. Whitefish still occur in the lake, but the distinct species pair has become a different, more uniform population of large fish.
Range: Ontario
Status history: Designated extinct in April 2018.

Common name: Basking Shark (Pacific population)
Scientific name: Cetorhinus maximus
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: A2ad; C2a(i); D1
Reason for designation: In Canada, the species was once subject to directed fisheries and control programs. While such activities have long ceased, they reduced abundance to very low levels. The species is especially vulnerable to incidental fishing mortality because of its low intrinsic productivity. This species continues to suffer from human-induced mortality, primarily through entanglement with gear. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has engaged in research and monitoring to better understand the current status and the habitat requirements. There has also been increased public awareness. Despite the increase in overall attention to this species, there is no evidence of recovery and the designation of Endangered is still supported by the limited new information available since the last assessment.
Range: British Columbia, Pacific Ocean
Status history: Designated endangered in April 2007. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Carmine Shiner
Scientific name: Notropis percobromus
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
Reason for designation: The range of this small, colourful minnow is restricted to Manitoba. Although there is limited information on population trends since the last assessment, projected declines over the next 10 years related to the threat of habitat loss and pollution will put the species at risk of extinction in Canada.
Range: Manitoba
Status history: Designated special concern in April 1994. Status re-examined and designated threatened in November 2001 and in April 2006. Status re-examined and designated endangered in April 2018.

Common name: European Whitefish (Squanga Lake small-bodied population)
Scientific name: Coregonus lavaretus
Status: Threatened
Assessment criteria: D2
Reason for designation: Lake Whitefish and European Whitefish are a species complex that has coevolved in certain lakes as species pairs—a larger species and a smaller species. This smaller species is known from a single lake in southern Yukon, where it coexists with a species derived from the Lake Whitefish. Its persistence is threatened by the risk of establishment of invasive species that could alter the ecological niches of the species pair. If exotic species invade, this fish could become extinct in a short period of time.
Range: Yukon Territory
Status history: Squanga Whitefish (Coregonus sp.) was considered a single unit and designated special concern in April 1987. In April 2018, the unit was split into three separate species of European Whitefish, Coregonus lavaretus, and the Squanga Lake small-bodied population of European Whitefish was designated threatened.

Common name: European Whitefish (Little Teslin Lake small-bodied population)
Scientific name: Coregonus lavaretus
Status: Threatened
Assessment criteria: D2
Reason for designation: Lake Whitefish and European Whitefish are a species complex that has coevolved in certain lakes as species pairs—a larger species and a smaller species. This smaller species is known from a single lake in southern Yukon, where it coexists with a species derived from the Lake Whitefish. Its persistence is threatened by the risk of establishment of invasive species that could alter the ecological niches of the species pair. If exotic species invade, this fish could become extinct in a short period of time.
Range: Yukon Territory
Status history: Squanga Whitefish (Coregonus sp.) was considered a single unit and designated special concern in April 1987. In April 2018, the unit was split into three separate species of European Whitefish, Coregonus lavaretus, and the Little Teslin Lake small-bodied population of European Whitefish was designated threatened.

Common name: European Whitefish (Dezadeash Lake small-bodied population)
Scientific name: Coregonus lavaretus
Status: Threatened
Assessment criteria: D2
Reason for designation: European Whitefish are a species complex that has coevolved in certain lakes as species pairs—a larger species and a smaller species. This smaller species is known from a single lake in southern Yukon. Its persistence is threatened by the risk of establishment of invasive species that could alter the ecological niches of the species pair. If exotic species invade, this fish could become extinct in a short period of time.
Range: Yukon Territory
Status history: Squanga Whitefish (Coregonus sp.) was considered a single unit and designated special concern in April 1987. In April 2018, the unit was split into three separate species of European Whitefish, Coregonus lavaretus, and the Dezadeash Lake small-bodied population of European Whitefish was designated threatened.

Common name: European Whitefish (Dezadeash Lake large-bodied population)
Scientific name: Coregonus lavaretus
Status: Threatened
Assessment criteria: D2
Reason for designation: European Whitefish are a species complex that has coevolved in certain lakes as species pairs—a larger species and a smaller species. This species is known from a single lake in southern Yukon. Its persistence is threatened by the risk of establishment of invasive species that could alter the ecological niches of the species pair. If exotic species invade, this fish could become extinct in a short period of time.
Range: Yukon Territory
Status history: Designated threatened in April 2018.

Common name: Lake Whitefish (Opeongo Lake small-bodied population)
Scientific name: Coregonus clupeaformis
Status: Threatened
Assessment criteria: D2
Reason for designation: Lake Whitefish are a species complex that has coevolved in certain lakes as species pairs—a larger species and a smaller species. This species is known from a single lake in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario. Its persistence is threatened by the risk of establishment of invasive species that could alter the distinct ecological niches required to maintain the coevolved species pair. If exotic species invade, this fish could become extinct in a short period of time. In fact, recent surveys suggest that this smaller member of the Opeongo Lake species pair may already be extinct.
Range: Ontario
Status history: Designated threatened in April 2018.

Common name: Lake Whitefish (Opeongo Lake large-bodied population)
Scientific name: Coregonus clupeaformis
Status: Threatened
Assessment criteria: D2
Reason for designation: Lake Whitefish are a species complex that has coevolved in certain lakes as species pairs—a larger species and a smaller species. This species is known from a single lake in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario. Its persistence is threatened by the risk of establishment of invasive species that could alter the distinct ecological niches required to maintain the coevolved species pair. If exotic species invade, this fish could become extinct in a short period of time. In fact, recent surveys suggest that the other member of this species pair may already be extinct.
Range: Ontario
Status history: Designated threatened in April 2018.

Common name: Lake Whitefish (Little Teslin Lake large-bodied population)
Scientific name: Coregonus clupeaformis
Status: Threatened
Assessment criteria: D2
Reason for designation: Lake Whitefish and European Whitefish are a species complex that has coevolved in certain lakes as species pairs—a larger species and a smaller species. This species is known from a single lake in southern Yukon, where it coexists with a smaller species derived from the European Whitefish. Its persistence is threatened by the risk of establishment of invasive species that could alter the ecological niches of the species pair. If exotic species invade, this fish could become extinct in a short period of time.
Range: Yukon Territory
Status history: Designated threatened in April 2018.

Common name: Lake Whitefish (Squanga Lake large-bodied population)
Scientific name: Coregonus clupeaformis
Status: Threatened
Assessment criteria: D2
Reason for designation: Lake Whitefish and European Whitefish are a species complex that has coevolved in certain lakes as species pairs—a larger species and a smaller species. This species is known from a single lake in southern Yukon, where it coexists with a smaller species derived from the European Whitefish. Its persistence is threatened by the risk of establishment of invasive species that could alter the ecological niches of the species pair. If exotic species invade, this fish could become extinct in a short period of time.
Range: Yukon Territory
Status history: Designated threatened in April 2018.

Lichen

Common name: Smoker’s Lung Lichen
Scientific name: Lobaria retigera
Status: Threatened
Assessment criteria: A3c+4c
Reason for designation: This lichen is strongly associated with humid old growth forests in British Columbia and is a “flagship” species for a suite of rare and uncommon lichens and bryophytes. More than 50% of the North American range is in Canada. The Canadian population comprises three subpopulations; however, nearly all remaining individuals (> 90%) are found in the Northwestern subpopulation (Kispiox and Skeena valleys). The threats to this species in Canada are extensive forest harvesting, both past and present, leading to declines in the population from the direct impacts (removal of host trees), as well as indirect impacts (edge effects) in adjacent habitats. Predicted climate change may lead to further declines in the remaining populations of this lichen.
Range: British Columbia
Status history: Designated threatened in April 2018.

Mammals

Common name: Harbour Seal Lacs des Loups Marins subspecies
Scientific name: Phoca vitulina mellonae
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: D1
Reason for designation: This land-locked subspecies is endemic to Québec and may number less than 100 individuals. It inhabits a small series of lakes in northern Québec and is the only sub-species to live entirely in fresh water. Climate change could cause pervasive changes to habitat and could increase predation pressure on the population. The population was and is being harvested by the Cree at low, but unknown, rates. Eventual hydro-electric development and mining exploration outside of the identified critical habitat could potentially alter the habitat.
Range: Quebec
Status history: Designated special concern in April 1996. Status re-examined and designated endangered in November 2007 and April 2018.

Molluscs

Common name: Banff Springs Snail
Scientific name: Physella johnsoni
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: B1ab(iii)c(iv)+2ab(iii)c(iv)
Reason for designation: This is a Canadian endemic species with a distribution entirely within the upper reaches of fewer than five separate clusters of thermal springs in Banff National Park, Alberta. These short-lived animals undergo extreme natural annual fluctuations in numbers. This snail is a habitat specialist requiring a steady supply of warm thermal-spring water containing a high concentration of dissolved minerals and a complex microbial community that provides food and habitat. All thermal springs historically or currently occupied by this species have been impacted by human activities. Habitat disturbances continue but the effects of climate change (increased frequency of springs drying and storms with more rain) also are important threats to this species’ survival.
Range: Alberta
Status history: Designated threatened in April 1997. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in May 2000, April 2008, and April 2018.

Common name: Striped Whitelip
Scientific name: Webbhelix multilineata
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)
Reason for designation: This large terrestrial snail is present on Pelee Island in Lake Erie and at three sites on the mainland of southwestern Ontario: Point Pelee National Park, Walpole Island, and Bickford Oak Woods Conservation Reserve. The species appears to have been extirpated from four other historically known mainland sites and at least one site on Pelee Island. Human-driven habitat loss and alteration led to decline and population isolation. Threats are extreme weather events (e.g., droughts), prescribed burns, and human disturbance (i.e., trampling as the species forages on trails in moist conditions). Wild Turkeys on Pelee Island and in Point Pelee National Park also might eat this snail.
Range: Ontario
Status history: Designated endangered in April 2018.

Mosses

Common name: Acuteleaf Small Limestone Moss
Scientific name: Seligeria acutifolia
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)
Reason for designation: This minute, habitat-specific moss has a very restricted distribution in Canada, where it is known from only two sites on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It is confined to limestone outcrops near sea level beneath a high, coniferous forest canopy in hypermaritime climatic regions near the coast. Primary threats include impacts to habitat from quarrying, logging, and roads. The site near Kennedy Lake is currently not expected to be harvested. However, plans to quarry the marble deposit at the site near Wood Cove, where two-thirds of the known Canadian population occurs, imminently threaten this subpopulation.
Range: British Columbia
Status history: Designated endangered in April 2018.

Reptiles

Common name: Gray Ratsnake (Carolinian population)
Scientific name: Pantherophis spiloides
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: A2cd+4cd; B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v); C2a(i); D1
Reason for designation: One of the largest snakes in Canada, this species is characterized by late age of maturity and low reproductive rates. Once spread across most of the Carolinian zone of southwestern Ontario, it occupies an increasingly fragmented region of Ontario and is threatened by ongoing development and expansion of road networks. This population presently contains only two small disjunct subpopulations, surrounded by intensive agriculture, and residential and commercial development. Although accurate estimates of abundance are lacking, the number of mature individuals is most likely less than 250. Two additional subpopulations in this population appear to have been extirpated in the past 10 years, and its geographic range has declined precipitously over that same period. Development especially threatens communal hibernacula. Roads represent a significant mortality threat as snakes bask on them. Additionally, this species is persecuted, both along roads and at hibernacula. Rescue from other populations is unlikely as the Carolinian population is disjunct and separated from adjacent populations in the U.S. by Lake Erie.
Range: Ontario
Status history: The species was considered a single unit and designated threatened in April 1998 and in May 2000. Split into two populations in April 2007. The Carolinian population was designated endangered in April 2007. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Gray Ratsnake (Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population)
Scientific name: Pantherophis spiloides
Status: Threatened
Assessment criteria: A2acd+3cd+4cd
Reason for designation: One of the largest snakes in Canada, this species is characterized by late age of maturity and low reproductive rates. It occupies an increasingly fragmented region of southern Ontario and is threatened by ongoing development and by expansion of road networks. The extent of its occurrence appears to have declined significantly. Mark-recapture analyses from several subpopulations indicate decreasing population trends at some sites, although widespread estimates of abundance or population trend are lacking. Development especially threatens communal hibernacula. Traffic on roads where snakes bask represents a significant mortality threat. Additionally, this species is intentionally killed, both along roads and at hibernacula. Rescue from other populations is unlikely since this population is already separated from upstate New York by the St. Lawrence River and by at least 100 km from the main species range in New York.
Range: Ontario
Status history: The species was considered a single unit and designated threatened in April 1998 and in May 2000. Split into two populations in April 2007. The Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population was designated threatened in April 2007. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Eastern Painted Turtle
Scientific name: Chrysemys picta picta
Status: Special concern
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: This widespread species is subject to a suite of continuing threats, including road mortality, habitat degradation and loss, invasive species, and subsidized predators, which are unlikely to diminish in the future. Although data on declines of this species are poorly documented, the ‘slow’ life history of turtles, characterized by late maturation, long lifespan, and long generation time, increases vulnerability and limits population resilience to these threats. The species may become Threatened if these threats are neither reversed nor managed with demonstrable effectiveness.
Range: Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
Status history: Designated special concern in April 2018.

Common name: Midland Painted Turtle
Scientific name: Chrysemys picta marginata
Status: Special Concern
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: The loss of > 70% of wetlands in southern Ontario over the past 200 years (< 6 turtle generations) has very likely resulted in significant regional declines in both abundance and distribution of this species, although quantitative data on declines are poorly documented. The species is subject to a suite of continuing threats, including road mortality, habitat degradation and loss, invasive species, and subsidized predators, which are unlikely to diminish in the future. The ‘slow’ life history of turtles, characterized by exceedingly late maturation, high adult survival, and long generation time, increases vulnerability and limits population resilience to these threats. The species may become Threatened if these threats are neither reversed nor managed with demonstrable effectiveness.
Range: Ontario, Quebec
Status history: Designated special concern in April 2018.

Vascular Plants

Common name: Downy Yellow False Foxglove
Scientific name: Aureolaria virginica
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)
Reason for designation: This perennial plant species has a distribution restricted in Canada to southwestern Ontario. There are few individuals in the five remaining locations within oak savannas and woodlands. Declines have been observed in its distribution and quality of habitat. Fire suppression and browsing by White-tailed Deer threaten the remaining extant locations.
Range: Ontario
Status history: Designated endangered in April 2018.

Common name: Tall Bugbane
Scientific name: Actaea elata
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v); C2a(i)
Reason for designation: This large western North American plant is a relatively long-lived perennial herb that inhabits mixed coniferous-deciduous forests. The species requires sunlit canopy openings in mature and old forests. Its few, small subpopulations in southwestern British Columbia are scattered and isolated in a single mountain river valley, where they continue to decline as its forest habitat continues to be reduced or degraded by invasive alien plants, largely associated with disturbances related to increased road access and recreational activities. Competition from native plants on previously logged sites and herbicide drift are also potential threats.
Range: British Columbia
Status history: Designated endangered in May 2001. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Tall Woolly-heads
Scientific name: Psilocarphus elatior
Status: Endangered
Assessment criteria: B1abc(iii,v)+2abc(iii,v)
Reason for designation: This small annual plant only occurs in a few, small, specialized habitats on southeastern Vancouver Island. Habitat destruction and modification at one site has resulted in significant decline in the Canadian population. Competition from invasive species and management of drainage are the primary continuing threats; other threats include recreational activities, habitat disruption by non-native resident Canada Geese, and haying/mowing.
Range: British Columbia
Status history: Designated endangered in May 2001. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Fern-leaved Yellow False Foxglove
Scientific name: Aureolaria pedicularia
Status: Threatened
Assessment criteria: B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
Reason for designation: This short-lived plant species has a distribution restricted in Canada to southwestern Ontario. The remaining individuals occur in a small number of locations within oak savannas and woodlands. Declines have been observed in quality of habitat. Fire suppression and residential development threaten the remaining extant locations.
Range: Ontario
Status history: Designated threatened in April 2018.

Common name: Smooth Yellow False Foxglove
Scientific name: Aureolaria flava
Status: Threatened
Assessment criteria: B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v); C2a(i); D1
Reason for designation: This perennial plant species has a distribution restricted in Canada to southwestern Ontario. There are few individuals remaining in a small number of locations within oak savannas and woodlands. Declines have been observed in its distribution and quality of habitat. Fire suppression and browsing by White-tailed Deer threaten the remaining extant locations.
Range: Ontario
Status history: Designated threatened in April 2018.

Common name: Athabasca Thrift
Scientific name: Armeria maritima ssp. interior
Status: Special concern
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: One of a group of endemic plants restricted to dune habitats of northwestern Saskatchewan. Although dune habitats are naturally dynamic, the rate of forest encroachment at Athabasca dunes now surpasses the rate of dune formation, likely as a result of climate change impacts on this species. Invasive species are a potential threat, but none are currently known in the dune habitat. This plant occurs on “gravel pavements”, which are impacted by recreational activities like hiking and off-road vehicle use, but the access to these areas is very limited.
Range: Saskatchewan
Status history: Designated threatened in April 1981. Status re-examined and designated special concern in April 1999. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2002 and April 2018.

Common name: Blanket-leaved Willow
Scientific name: Salix silicicola
Status: Special concern
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: One of a group of endemic plants restricted to dune habitats of northwestern Saskatchewan. Although dune habitats are naturally dynamic, the rate of forest encroachment at Athabasca dunes now surpasses the rate of dune formation, likely as a result of climate change impacts on this species. Invasive species are a potential threat, but none are currently known in the dune habitat.
Range: Saskatchewan
Status history: Designated special concern in May 2000. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Floccose Tansy
Scientific name: Tanacetum huronense var. floccosum
Status: Special concern
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: One of a group of endemic plants restricted to dune habitats of northeastern Alberta and northwestern Saskatchewan. Although dune habitats are naturally dynamic, the rate of forest encroachment at the Athabasca dunes now surpasses the rate of dune formation, likely as a result of climate change impacts on this species. Invasive species and recreational use are potential threats.
Range: Alberta, Saskatchewan
Status history: Designated special concern in May 2000. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Large-headed Woolly Yarrow
Scientific name: Achillea millefolium var. megacephala
Status: Special concern
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: One of a group of endemic plants restricted to dune habitats of northwestern Saskatchewan. Although dune habitats are naturally dynamic, the rate of forest encroachment at Athabasca dunes now surpasses the rate of dune formation, likely as a result of climate change impacts on this species. Invasive species are a potential threat, but none are currently known in the dune habitat.
Range: Saskatchewan
Status history: Designated special concern in May 2000. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Mackenzie Hairgrass
Scientific name: Deschampsia mackenzieana
Status: Special concern
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: One of a group of endemic plants restricted to dune habitats of northwestern Saskatchewan. Although dune habitats are naturally dynamic, the rate of forest encroachment at Athabasca dunes now surpasses the rate of dune formation, likely as a result of climate change impacts on this species. Invasive species are a potential threat, but none are currently known in the dune habitat.
Range: Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan
Status history: Designated special concern in April 1999. Status re-examined and confirmed in November 2001. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Sand-dune Short-capsuled Willow
Scientific name: Salix brachycarpa var. psammophila
Status: Special concern
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: One of a group of endemic plants restricted to dune habitats of northwestern Saskatchewan. Although dune habitats are naturally dynamic, the rate of forest encroachment at Athabasca dunes now surpasses the rate of dune formation, likely as a result of climate change impacts on this species. Invasive species are a potential threat, but none are currently known in the dune habitat.
Range: Saskatchewan
Status history: Designated special concern in May 2000. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.

Common name: Turnor's Willow
Scientific name: Salix turnorii
Status: Special concern
Assessment criteria: not applicable
Reason for designation: One of a group of endemic plants restricted to dune habitats of northwestern Saskatchewan. Although dune habitats are naturally dynamic, the rate of forest encroachment at Athabasca dunes now surpasses the rate of dune formation, likely as a result of climate change impacts on this species. Invasive species are a potential threat, but none are currently known in the dune habitat.
Range: Saskatchewan
Status history: Designated special concern in May 2000. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 2018.


(1) The review of classification of the Hotwater Physa (Physella wrighti) was completed. COSEWIC decided that a fully updated status report is required to assess the status of this wildlife species.

About us

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is an independent advisory panel to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada that meets twice a year to assess the status of wildlife species at risk of extinction. Members are wildlife biology experts from academia, government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector responsible for designating wildlife species in danger of disappearing from Canada.


COSEWIC secretariat
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St. Joseph Blvd, 16th floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3

Telephone: 819-938-4125
Fax: 819-938-3984
Email: ec.cosepac-cosewic.ec@canada.ca

Latest News

COSEWIC press release: May 2019

ST. JOHN'S, May 6, 2019 /CNW/ - Canada's marine protected areas are more important than ever. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has just assessed three whales, including two of the world's largest, as under threat in Canadian waters.


Assessment results (May 2019 COSEWIC wildlife species assessment meeting)

Twice per year, Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) meets to discuss and evaluate the status of Canadian wildlife species. Here you will find the List of Wildlife Species scheduled for the next COSEWIC Wildlife Species Assessment Meeting, the results of wildlife species assessment meeting, and the updated COSEWIC Canadian Wildlife Species at Risk Publication.