For Immediate Release
Nature Canada Releases Report,
June 5, 2006 (Ottawa) Three years after the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) was enacted to address the mounting threats to Canada’s endangered species, a report released today by Nature Canada calls on the federal government to do more to enforce this important piece of legislation.
The report, Species at Risk: Three Years Later, concludes that Canada is failing to fulfill its duty of care toward our nation's wildlife, and calls on the government to choose recovery over extinction for our species at risk. The report also concludes that decisive implementation of the Species at Risk Act is required to ensure Canada's species receive the protection they deserve.
“The Species at Risk Act was passed to prevent further extinctions and recover those uncommon species that are already in peril, but so far too many species have been left unprotected,” said Julie Gelfand, president of Nature Canada. “Whether it’s the Fraser River coho salmon, the spotted owl or the woodland caribou, the promise of protection embodied in this Act has gone unfulfilled.”
Nature Canada released the report on behalf of the Canadian Nature Network, which represents over 360 local and provincial nature groups with well over 100,000 individual nature lovers from coast to coast.
The report describes four ways implementation needs to improve in order to increase the Act’s effectiveness:
The report recommends that the federal government should follow its own experts’ advice and list species following the designations of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).
It was also calls for a better public registry, and a greater willingness on the part of federal authorities to issue emergency protection orders for critical habitat when provincial authorities fail to act. Finally, the report calls for more support of voluntary stewards, in the form of increased funding and easier access to recovery planning and action, to take full advantage of the many passionate Canadians who want to do their part to protect this country’s wildlife.
“Despite the current need for improvement, there is still time,” said Sarah Wren, conservation biologist for Nature Canada. “By recognizing the weaknesses in implementation that exist today, the federal government can still realize the full potential of this important piece of legislation.”
Nature Canada is a member-based non-profit nature conservation organization dedicated to protecting nature, its diversity, and the processes that sustain it. With strategies based on sound science and passion for nature, Nature Canada effects change on issues of national significance, including bird conservation, wilderness protection, species at risk and national parks.