COSEWIC wildlife species assessment: policy for modifications based on quantitative criteria

Table 4. Policy for modifying status assessment based on quantitative criteria

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other groups recognize the need for additional assessment tools. Specifically, there is a need to consider life history variation amongst wildlife species and other taxa. COSEWIC has developed the following guideline:

In addition to the quantitative guidelines, COSEWIC will base its assessment on the degree to which various life-history characteristics (e.g., age & size at maturity, dispersal strategy, longevity) affect extinction probability and the likelihood that the wildlife species is vulnerable to the Allee effects of density dependence.

All else being equal:

  • wildlife species with delayed age at maturity tend to be at greater risk of extinction than wildlife species with early age at maturity;
  • for indeterminately growing organisms (wildlife species that continue to grow after attaining maturity), larger wildlife species tend to be at greater risk of extinction than smaller wildlife species;
  • wildlife species with low dispersal tend to be at greater risk of extinction than wildlife species with high dispersal; and
  • wildlife species with non-overlapping generations tend to be at greater risk of extinction than wildlife species with overlapping generations.

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

Email: ec.cosepac-cosewic.ec@canada.ca