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Christmas Has Come Early for BC Grizzlies
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Christmas Has Come Early for BC Grizzlies

[caption id="attachment_33197" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Lenore Nadeau Lenore Nadeau, Grants and Sponsorships Officer[/caption] Nature Canada applauds the BC government’s decision to ban the hunting of grizzlies in the province, currently listed under COSEWIC as a species of special concern (western population). The decision was long overdue as the vast majority of British Columbians no longer believe it is socially acceptable to hunt these magnificent, iconic bears. The consultation process with First Nations, stakeholder groups, and the public found that 78% of respondents wanted the hunt stopped entirely – and the government has finally listened. First Nations will still be allowed to hunt grizzlies for food, social or ceremonial reasons, or for treaty rights. There is still much work to be done to address other threats to grizzlies, such as habitat loss. Nature Canada will continue to work with its local partners to ensure that provincial and federal governments protect important grizzly habitat in B.C. and through other parts of their range in Canada. Stay tuned for more on our exciting Protected Places campaign in the New Year!

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Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia unveils NatureHood site plaque to nurture a new generation of nature lovers
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Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia unveils NatureHood site plaque to nurture a new generation of nature lovers

VICTORIA, B.C.  (December 18, 2017) — The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, unveiled a plaque today to officially designate the grounds of Government House a Nature Canada NatureHood site. Earlier this year, Her Honour designated the grounds of Government House a NatureHood site to commemorate Canada’s sesquicentennial. “Nature Canada is honoured to have its NatureHood site plaque unveiled today by the Honourable Judith Guichon,” says Bob Peart, National Chair of Nature Canada’s Board of Directors and volunteer with the Friends of Shoal Harbour (FOSH). “These historic grounds on the traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations are the ceremonial home of all British Columbians. It is an ideal place to inspire urban BC residents to connect with nature right where they live and to appreciate this remarkable and unique part of Canada's heritage.” he adds. “Nature Canada’s NatureHood program is all about inspiring urban Canadians, especially youth, to explore nearby nature and help to foster a new generation of nature lovers,” says Jill Sturdy, Manager of Nature Canada’s national NatureHood program. “As a Nature Canada Woman for Nature, Her Honour’s leadership in encouraging children to explore nature will continue to be felt for many years to come.” adds Sturdy. The Government House gardens are open to the public year-round. The NatureHood plaque is located at the trailhead of the Woodlands trail, featuring native plants of British Colombia, including unique Garry oak habitat. Government House is located within the capital region NatureHood, adjacent to Victoria Harbour and Esquimalt Lagoon and Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuaries. The Government House Grounds The Government House grounds contain more than 14 hectares (36 acres) of maintained gardens and Garry oak meadows. The grounds are divided into numerous different zones according to plant life and/or garden style including: the British Columbia native plant garden which contains species unique to the province; a Cottage Garden which is arranged in an informal style with a mixture of ornamental and edible plants; gardens to supply cut flowers, herbs, and an orchard with apple, plum, and quince trees; a rock garden tended by the Heather Society of Victoria; iris, lily, rhododendron; rose gardens (including a formal Victorian rose garden based on the plan of that at Warwick Castle in England); and, water features such as the fountain pond and the duck pond. There is also a unique 8.9 hectares (22 acres) Garry Oak ecosystem. The gardens are open to the public year-round and are enjoyed by many visitors.


For media comment please contact:
Bob Peart, Chair, Nature Canada Board of Directors 250-655-0295 | bobpeart@shaw.caJill Sturdy, NatureHood Program Manager 613-276-7226 | jsturdy@naturecanada.ca
About Nature Canada and NatureHood: Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada, a nature conservation charity has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of over 50,000 supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country and with affiliates in every province. One of its signatory initiatives is the NatureHood program that inspires urban residents to connect with Nearby Nature – nature right where they live. Working closely with grassroots naturalist groups, NatureHood promotes nature through celebratory events, educational and stewardship activities and wildlife observation. NatureHood aims to inspire a new generation of nature lovers. For more information visit www.naturecanada.ca About Friends of Shoal Harbour (FOSH): The Friends of Shoal Harbour Sanctuary Society (FOSH), a non-profit society works to build public support for the continued protection of the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, which encompasses several of the bays and inlets just north of Sidney, and to promote public awareness and appreciation through celebratory events. The sanctuary is part of the Sidney Channel Important Bird Area. FOSH is a local NatureHood partner. Visit www.shoalharbour.com

Nature Canada shines at the Latornell Symposium
Purple Martins pair at bird house complex
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Nature Canada shines at the Latornell Symposium

[caption id="attachment_21694" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Ted Cheskey Ted Cheskey
Senior Conservation Manager[/caption] The Latornell Conservation Symposium is one of Ontario’s premier annual events for conservation practitioners, policy makers, environmental NGOs, and academics. The Ontario government, Conservation Ontario, the University of Guelph and many other organizations sponsor the symposium. It provides a unique forum to share work, research, and ideas with others working in the same or a similar field including those who interpret and enforce the policies that protect nature. This year’s symposium in late November explored the succession of science, knowledge, policy and organizations and the nature of this change on the environment. Nature Canada’s Ted Cheskey and Megan MacIntosh participated in Wednesday’s proceedings, and presented Nature Canada’s work to protect and recover the rapidly declining Purple Martin and Threatened aerial insectivores as part of a session called “On a wing and a prayer: the plight of our birds.” The three-hour session featured a screening of the full-length documentary “The Messenger,” introduced by film Director Sue Rynard and Producer Joanne Jackson, followed by presentations from Dr. Bridget Stutchbury, author of Silence of the Songbirds and member of Nature Canada's Women for Nature, Dr. Doug Tozer from our BirdLife Canada partner Bird Studies Canada, and us. [caption id="attachment_35490" align="aligncenter" width="599"]Image of group at Latornell Conservation Symposium From left to right: Doug Tozer, Bridget Stutchbury, Sue Rynard, Megan MacIntosh and Ted Cheskey holding Maple Syrup bottle gifts from the conference that look suspiciously like bottles of contraband.[/caption] Despite the length of our session, and our position as last speakers, we were able to hold the attention of over 60 attendees, who engaged us with many questions. Our presentation described our stewardship work focused on housing management with the Ontario Purple Martin Association and our applied research with Dr. Kevin Fraser of the University of Manitoba. Both project components are supported by many local partners and volunteers. Nature Canada receives financial support from the Habitat Stewardship Program of Environment and Climate Change Canada as well as the Ontario Ministry of Nature Resources Species at Risk Stewardship Fund to do this work. We were able to present some of our findings from recovering data tags that provide insights into the incredible migration route and timing of Martins. This was our moment to share the extraordinary news from this work that members of this species that breed thousands of kilometres apart, gather on the same islands at the same time in the Amazon River basin of Brazil. [caption id="attachment_35489" align="aligncenter" width="601"]Image of Megan MacIntosh presenting Megan MacIntosh presents to a captivated audience the results of her field work.[/caption] Another key finding with significant conservation implications is with regard to post breeding, and pre-migratory roost sites. This summer, Megan and her crew located several of these giant, multi-swallow species roosts, some with over 20,000 individuals, which would qualify them, on their own, as Important Bird Areas. Roosts are poorly understood, and difficult to monitor, and even locate, though they can house tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of birds for several weeks prior to their southward departures. These roosts are largely located in wetlands along the southern Great Lakes and St. Lawrence. The concentration of birds at single roosts renders them vulnerable to different types of human activity, which may be a contributing factor to the declines. Our goal was to put up a flag for roost site protection in the conservation and resource management community. Judging from the response after our presentation, we have made our first good steps. We were thrilled to share the stage with Sue, Joanne, Dr. Stutchbury and Dr. Tozer and speak proudly about Nature Canada’s work, which we hope to continue at some level in 2018.

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Last Minute Gift Ideas for Nature Lovers
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Last Minute Gift Ideas for Nature Lovers

[caption id="attachment_22916" align="alignleft" width="150"]Samantha Nurse, Web and Social Media Coordinator Samantha Nurse, Web and Social Media Coordinator[/caption] Need gift ideas for yourself or the nature lover in your family? We have a few suggestions that are sure to fill you and your family with holiday cheer!

Snow shoes

We're in for a long winter. Turn it into a positive and explore nature by snow shoe!

Chutneys, Relishes, and Other Preserves

Great if they’re from your own garden, or purchased from a local grower. If you know someone with a real appreciation for good food, you can make them happy all year long with a membership in an organic cooperative that keeps them supplied with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Head Lamp

For night time hikes and cross-country skiing a headlamp can really come in handy! Try to find one that’s light-weight (2-5 ounces), waterproof and has an adjustable light. [caption id="attachment_23536" align="alignright" width="225"]Image of binoculars Photo of binoculars[/caption]

Binoculars

Binoculars are a great gift for your bird watching friends and loved ones! Be sure to get ones with a strap so that way they can carry them around in their bird watching activities.

Bird Feed

Birds depend on reliable food sources during the winter. Suggestions: Sunflower seeds are favored by chickadees, evening grosbeaks, tufted titmice, blue jays, finches and cardinals, among others. White proso millet is preferred by ground-feeding birds such as sparrows. Corn, on or off the cob, are enjoyed by medium sized birds including the mourning dove and common grackle.

Bird Feeder Accessories

Spruce up the feeder! Consider attaching a convenience perch – simply a small tree branch or stick – to the side of the feeder to reduce congestion and provide a place for birds to crack open seeds.

Bicycle Accessories

Anything bicycle-related makes a good gift, such as a new bike helmet or a gift certificate for a comprehensive bicycle tune-up. A pass for a guided hike or wilderness trip is just the thing to get someone active outdoors! [caption id="attachment_23542" align="alignleft" width="245"]bike-926063_1920 Grad some great bicycle accessories![/caption]

Compost Bin

If you’re a gardener, composting is an ideal way to turn non-animal kitchen and yard waste into free fertilizer. If you’re not a gardener, composting is still a practical way to reduce the volume of solid waste that your household produces. Lee Valley Tools has a cool indoor stainless steel compost bin; it’s attractive enough to put on your countertop, and it comes with biodegradable compost bags.

Singing Bird Clock

Keep track of the time and learn common bird calls with a singing bird clock. Most models allow you to turn the sound off at night, and during the day, the top of each hour is hailed by a house finch, mourning dove, blue jay, house wren, tufted titmouse, or many other species.

Tree Faces

These amusing outdoor décor items add whimsy to your backyard or garden. It’s also fun to see a person’s reaction when they finally notice your tree has a face! Caution: Get the faces with the wrap-around attachments; don’t nail to the tree!

The Bedside Book of Birds, by Graeme Gibson

For armchair naturalists who appreciate words as much as birds. Poetry, prose, myths and beautiful illustrations make this book a true joy to read. Available in virtually any book store, including Chapters.

The Birder's Conservation Handbook: 100 North American Birds at Risk by Jeff Wells

Finally! An easy-to-read book written specifically to help birders and researchers understand the status of North America's most threatened birds, and what can be done to protect them. The Birder's Conservation Handbook is beautifully illustrated and a must-read for anyone who loves birds. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="134"] The Birder's Conservation Handbook[/caption]

Waterproof Notebooks

Don’t let wet weather keep you indoors! Bird listing and sketching is still possible with a waterproof notebook, and we especially like the ones that fit inside a pocket.

Breeding Bird Atlas

For the serious birder in your family, a bird atlas is a survey of the nesting areas of birds in a particular region. You can even contribute to a bird atlas by participating in local bird counts.

Programmable Thermostat or Water-saving Showerhead

Conserving energy means preserving wildlife. There are plenty of ways to reduce energy consumption around the home.

Make a donation in someone’s name to Nature Canada or the conservation organization of your choice

There are many worthy causes that work on the local, regional and national level to protect nature. Give you and your loved ones peace of mind this year.
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The Texture of Trees
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The Texture of Trees

[caption id="attachment_34602" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Sherry Nigro, Guest Blogger Sherry Nigro, Guest Blogger[/caption] This blog is written by guest blogger Sherry Nigro. I am always a little bit sad to see the leaves fall. But, it gives me more opportunity to admire the under-appreciated tree trunk. There is something about trees that compels me to reach out and touch the bark as I walk past. I am drawn to the texture of the tree trunks, which can range from the raised plates of the white pine to the shaggy eastern hophornbeam, to the smooth papery birch. There is something grounding about the contact; the trunk with its protective bark covering, seems to be the heart and soul of the tree. Bark varies from thin to very thick depending on the genus of tree. It can change with age, for example young poplars have a smooth light coloured surface with horizontal striations. Bark on older poplars can be thick and dark and have fissures and deep cracks. Colours can vary from the bright white of birch to true red of red osier dogwood, to bright greens and yellows of certain willows as well as every grey and brown variation imaginable. The characteristics of the bark can be very useful in identifying the species of tree. [caption id="attachment_35465" align="alignright" width="366"]Image of a Pileated Woodpecker. Photo by Sherry Nigro. Pileated Woodpecker. Photo by Sherry Nigro.[/caption] The bark, like a combination of our skin and bones, serves several important functions for the tree. The inner bark supports the transportation of water and nutrients. The outer bark provides strength and flexibility to support the crown of the tree, even during extreme weather. It provides insulation for the tree protecting it against severe cold and heat, even fire. While healthy bark can provide some protection from disease and infestations, it can be susceptible to damage from both. Witness the devastation of the emerald ash borer which lays eggs on the bark, with the larvae boring into the bark and disrupting the transportation of nutrients, eventually killing the tree. Many animals, including moose, beaver, and porcupines eat bark as part of their diet. Large animals such as bear and moose can damage trees mechanically as they claw or rub their antlers against the trunk. Birds can strip off bark for nests or puncture the bark with sharp beaks looking for insects. Woodpeckers in particular can weaken already declining trees leaving some trunks looking like a bird buffet. Observing the bark on the trunk can often provide information about the overall health of the tree. People have also found uses for tree bark.. Indigenous peoples used the birch bark for their famously durable canoes and willow bark for its pain relieving properties. Even today, tree bark can be used in tanning, building products, pharmaceuticals, and horticulture. Bark makes an important contribution to the ecosystem of the forest. It provides nutrients to plants such as moss, fungi and lichens. (Yes, moss will be predominantly on the north side of trees). And this commensalism provides another fascinating aspect to the tree trunk, one that invites me to touch the rough flakes of the lichen, or the soft velvet of the moss. Next time you are outside, touch a tree!

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Vulpes, Vixen and … Vulpix? Foxes in folklore and popular culture
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Vulpes, Vixen and … Vulpix? Foxes in folklore and popular culture

[caption id="attachment_31795" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Amanda Simard Amanda Simard, Writing Intern[/caption] fox-1966595_640This blog was written by writing intern Amanda Simard. This month’s calendar photo features a Red Fox and was taken near Ottawa, ON. The Red Fox is one of the most widespread Canids, and foxes have featured in a variety of folklore and myths around the world. Often, they are portrayed as cunning tricksters, but they also feature as a wise magical spirits or alluring enchantresses. Here are a few instances of foxes found in folklore and in popular culture![gap height="25"]

The Native American fox

In Native American folklore, foxes appear in a variety of capacities, but often Fox is a trickster companion to Coyote, a male anthropomorphized Coyote spirit. In some myths, foxes are wise and benevolent. In others, they are connected to fire and the sun. Sometimes, Fox is a minor and clever spirit who helps people and animals in need, or punishes those who are arrogant. And sometimes, Fox is a bad omen, a greedy and mean-spirited thief. Did you know? Foxes are common clan animals in Native American culture.

image of a Red FoxCeltic fox

In Celtic mythology, the fox is wise and cunning. A trickster who knows the forest better than anyone else, the fox symbolizes the need to think fast and strategically. Highly adaptable creatures, they also symbolize the need to adjust to new situations. The Celtic fox is a shapeshifter who can switch between canine and human forms at will. This unique ability means the fox can easily slip in and out of places, especially those dangerous to anyone else. Foxes are also seducers, captivating unwitting souls with their charm and good looks.

The Asian fox

The different interpretations of the fox in Asian folklore feature similar ideology of the fox as a magical being, though it varies between being a good and bad omen. The Chinese Huli Jing is a playful trickster who integrates itself into human society. The Japanese Kitsune is a more deified being with an ambivalent stance on humanity. The Korean kumiho tends to be an ill omen, a seductress who is a literal man-eater. While scholars are unsure where any of the myths truly started, cross-pollination of fox spirit myths has resulted in some common themes. Generally, the Asian fox spirit is a magical shapeshifter, sometimes portrayed as having up to nine tails depending on its age and wisdom.

Foxes in Popular Culture

image of a Red FoxFoxes and references to fox mythology appear all over the place in popular culture. In North America for instance, programming aimed at kids — though often appreciated and beloved by children and adults alike – often features foxes aplenty. Disney is no exception to the trope, with Tod and Vixey from The Fox and the Hound, or Robin Hood himself in the film by the same name. Let us not forget the recent film Zootopia, which features a fox named Nick Wilde as the witty and misunderstood secondary main character. And for all 90s kids out there, or for those still hooked on Pokemon GO — it would be remiss to talk about foxes in popular culture without mentioning, at least once, the adorable Vulpix — the fox-like fire-type pokemon who evolves into Ninetails. Do you know a good fox myth? Who are your favourite popular foxes? Let us know it the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!
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Women for Nature Explore the Local to the Global
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Women for Nature Explore the Local to the Global

[caption id="attachment_29288" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Jaime Clifton Jaime Clifton-Ross[/caption] This blog is written by Jaime Clifton-Ross, Research Curator, CRC Research and Changing the Conversation, School of Environment and Sustainability, Royal Roads University. Like climate change, biodiversity does not respect political borders, given the lengthy migratory paths that many species journey, either by land or water. Protecting wildlife and conserving ecosystems is especially challenging as such efforts require global governance systems. To unpack these issues and to explore potential solutions, Changing the Conversation hosted the second e-dialogue from our 4-part series, Biodiversity Conversations: How important are the common loon and polar bears to Canadians. Led by Women for Nature and moderated by co-chair Ann Dale, the panelists brought expertise in soil biodiversity, marine mammals, climate change, conservation, and monarch butterflies. Overall, it was a thought-provoking discussion given the invaluable knowledge and experience of our expert panelists. Image of Black eye susansThe e-conversation used the Monarch Butterfly and their migratory cycle to illuminate how many species are highly dependent on both local and global ecosystems. We learned that biodiversity loss often begins at a local scale— whether through habitat loss and fragmentation, resource extraction or exploitation, invasive species, etc.—and often becomes a problem of global proportion, which in turn feeds back into the local. They also discussed how many conservation strategies and official plans do not account for species migration. Like marine protected areas, landscape corridors are also critical since many species spend much of their lives away from their breeding and feeding grounds. As local biodiversity loss reflects global biodiversity loss, action at the local level can make a huge impact. Unfortunately, many global actions have not been effective, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, because they have failed to make this connection. After agreeing that conservation must simultaneously occur at multiple scales, the panelists explored the need to break-down political boundaries and to augment cross-border cooperation and collaboration. They also shared many examples of existing initiatives and organizations throughout North America. A concluding consensus was that we need to creatively engage people with nature, especially at a young age. This may personalize experiences with biodiversity loss and subsequently help consumers better understand their individual and collective impacts on their environment. To view the full conversation, download a PDF copy here which includes many sources highlighted during the conversation. You can also download a PDF copy here.  To dive deeper on the subject, check out our curated biodiversity library featuring a collection of resources on our Changing the Conversation platform. Our next conversation will take place at the end of January 2018 and will focus on the drivers and barriers of biodiversity conservation. Upon completing the series, we will be transforming our dialogue into action, drafting a biodiversity conservation action agenda to circulate to Canadian decision-makers across the country. So, stay tuned.

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Barn and Bank Swallows Legally Listed as Threatened
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Barn and Bank Swallows Legally Listed as Threatened

[caption id="attachment_31795" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Megan MacIntosh Megan MacIntosh, Purple Martin Project Coordinator[/caption] Not long after fall songbird migration wrapped up for another year, two familiar summer residents, the Barn Swallow and Bank Swallow, were officially listed as threatened species under Schedule 1 of the 2002 Species at Risk Act (SARA) in Canada. This moment came many years after COSEWIC, the scientific advisory committee, made the recommendation (2011 for Barn Swallow and 2013 for Bank Swallow). Nature Canada congratulates the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, for pushing these listings through. With natural habitat significantly altered over the past century, swallows, in an incredible demonstration of resilience, have adapted to rely on human structures for breeding habitat. As migratory birds, they are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act (1994), and have been included in various multi-species action plans at historic sites and conservation areas across Canada. Provincially, Barn Swallow and Bank Swallow are listed as threatened in Ontario and endangered in Nova Scotia, and the Purple Martin, North America’s largest swallow, is listed as special concern in British Columbia. What does this mean? How can it be that the Barn Swallow, the most abundant and widely distributed species of swallow in the world, came to be threatened? Image of Barn Swallow Let’s start with the glaringly obvious bad news: Their populations’ are in trouble, and their disappearance is part of larger trend impacting songbirds – a distress signal from ecosystems widely out of balance. Over the past 40 years, swallows and other birds that rely on a diet of flying insects have undergone steeper declines than any other birds in Canada - some by more than 90%. While scientists are still working to understand more about the cause, threats such as climate change, use of pesticides, decreased insect prey availability, loss of wetland and foraging habitat, industrial activities, competition from invasive species, and increased predation pressure all play a role. If nothing is done, it is possible that we could lose these wonderful species, and with them, their beautiful songs as a symbol of spring. The good news is that SARA was enacted precisely for this purpose – to prevent the disappearance of species at risk. Through SARA, definitive actions and resources can be set in place to get these birds some of the special attention they need. For example, the government is now required to produce a federal recovery strategy for the Bank Swallow and Barn Swallow within 2 years of the date they were listed. A recovery strategy serves as a detailed management plan that includes an assessment of the species and its needs, identifies threats and critical habitat, and sets priorities and approaches towards stopping and reversing their decline. In the meantime, we cannot rely on this as our only plan.  For species so closely connected with humans, a strong stewardship effort is needed to help provide a safe place for swallows while they raise their young in our backyards. Anybody can help. Learn more about Nature Canada’s Purple Martin program, or discover resources by our partners at Bird Studies Canada. To see the full list of scheduled species to SARA, visit https://www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=en&n=24F7211B-1

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Both cunning and stunning: Discover Canadian foxes!
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Both cunning and stunning: Discover Canadian foxes!

[caption id="attachment_31795" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Amanda Simard Amanda Simard, Writing Intern[/caption] Written by writing intern Amanda Simard. This month’s calendar photo features a Red Fox and was taken near Ottawa, ON. How much do you know about foxes? The Red Fox is the most widespread fox species, with over 45 recognized subspecies. Did you know male foxes are called tods, dogs or reynards, while female foxes are called vixens and young foxes are called cubs, pups or kits? The Red Fox is one of four species of fox found in Canada, two of which are threatened species. Learn more about Canadian foxes![gap height="30"] [caption id="attachment_32350" align="alignright" width="200"]image of a Red Fox Red Fox[/caption] Red Fox

  • Scientific name: Vulpes vulpes
  • Status under SARA: no status
  • Canadian range: throughout Canada
  • Habitat: they prefer mixed vegetation habitats but are adaptable to a wide range of habitats including forests, tundra, prairies and even urban areas.
  • Size: length (with tail): 90 - 112 cm; weight: 3.6 – 6.8 kg
  • Description: Red Foxes range from pale yellowish-red to deep red. They have white undersides, their paws are usually black and their tail is white or black tipped.[gap height="30"]
[caption id="attachment_32346" align="alignleft" width="200"]image of an Arctic Fox Arctic Fox[/caption] Arctic Fox
  • Scientific name: Vulpes lagopus
  • Status under SARA: no status
  • Canadian range: northern Canada
  • Habitat: arctic and alpine tundra.
  • Size: length (with tail): 75 - 115 cm; weight:5 - 9 kg
  • Description: Arctic Foxes are white in the winter and brown in the summer – the back, tail and legs turn dark brown while the underside stays somewhat paler. A small number of Artic Foxes have a blueish-gray coat through the winter.[gap height="60"]
[caption id="attachment_32347" align="alignright" width="200"]image of a Grey Fox Grey Fox[/caption] Gray Fox 
  • Scientific name: Urocyon cinereoargenteus
  • Status under SARA: Threatened. The 2015 COSEWIC assessment also designated the species as “Threatened.”
  • Canadian range: Ontario
  • Habitat: often deciduous forests, but they are adaptable to a variety of habitats. Their dens are often found in dense brush.
  • Size: length (with tail):5 - 156.8 cm; average weight: males – 4.1 kg, females – 3.9 kg
  • Description: The Gray Fox has a grizzled gray colour, with red fur on the neck, sides, and legs. It has a black stripe down its back to the tip of its tail.[gap height="30"]
[caption id="attachment_32352" align="alignleft" width="200"]image of a Swift Fox Swift Fox by Drew Avery (CC BY 2.0)[/caption] Swift Fox
  • Scientific name: Vulpes velox
  • Status under SARA: Threatened. The 2009 COSEWIC assessment also designated the species as “Threatened.”
  • Canadian range: Alberta, Saskatchewan
  • Habitat: open short-grass and mixed-grass prairies.
  • Size: length: approximately 80 cm; average weight: males – 2.45 kg, females – 2.25 kg
  • Description: The Swift Fox is smaller and paler than the Red Fox. It has relatively large pointed ears and a black-tipped tail.[gap height="75"]

Conservation

One of the main threats to both Gray Foxes and Swift Foxes is hunting and trapping. Additionally, the Swift Fox is vulnerable to habitat destruction.

What you can do

You can help through your valued and continued support of Nature Canada’s varied conservation efforts.
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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back—Scientists propose more species to be listed as at risk
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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back—Scientists propose more species to be listed as at risk

[caption id="attachment_22697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] On December 4, 2017 following several days of meetings in Ottawa, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) announced its recommendations for changes to listings of 44 wildlife species under the Species at Risk Act. The good news is that COSEWIC now considers that the Peregrine Falcon is no longer at risk of extinction throughout most of Canada thanks to a ban on the pesticide DDT and a captive breeding program. The bad news is COSEWIC recommends that a number of other species be listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern.  For example, COSEWIC recommends an endangered listing for eight of the 24 populations of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River. Two populations are recommended for threatened status and five populations for special concern status. Nine populations were stable or increasing and so were assessed as being Not at Risk. [caption id="attachment_14583" align="alignright" width="200"]Peregrine falcon Peregrine falcon[/caption] Two of three populations of Pacific Grey Whale using Canadian waters are also recommended for endangered status. These represent Grey Whales' last global stronghold. All three groups winter in Mexican waters, but move along the Canadian coast to spend the rest of the year feeding in different regions. A remnant population that summers along the Russian coast, and a second small group that feeds near Vancouver Island and adjacent waters, were both assessed as Endangered. The largest population, which travels along the Pacific coast to Alaska, was assessed as Not at Risk. Other species found to be at some level of risk:

  • Vancouver Lamprey, found in only three Vancouver Island lakes (Threatened)
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl brooksi subspecies, unique to Haida Gwaii forests (Threatened)
  • Quebec Rockcress, which grows only on certain Gaspé Peninsula limestone cliffs (Endangered)
  • Verna's Flower Moth, which is found exclusively in the Canadian prairies (Threatened)
  • Lumpfish, an Atlantic Ocean species fished for its caviar-like eggs (Threatened)
  • Dolphin and Union Caribou in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, which migrate across sea ice affected by climate change and shipping activity (Endangered).
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