Wildlife

A fifth of Canadian species are at some level of extinction risk: report

The 'Wild Species 2015: The General Status of Species in Canada' provides many facts about the tens of thousands of species that call Canada home. Find some below. For instance, did you know that nearly 70 per cent of the known animal species in Canada are insects?
  • Sep 10, 2017
  • 367 words
  • 2 minutes
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Almost 30,000 species assessed, approximately 50,000 to go.

That’s just one of the many mind-boggling takeaways from the recently published report Wild Species 2015: The General Status of Species in Canada. The report, which the Species at Risk Act requires to be published every five years, estimates that there are about 80,000 known species in Canada (excluding viruses and bacteria), which is about 10,000 more than were estimated to exist in the 2010 report.

Here’s a by-the-numbers breakdown of some of the 2015 report’s other findings.

29,848  The total number of species assessed

5  The number of kingdoms among which the species assessed were divided

1%  The approximate amount of known species in Canada represented by the protozoa kingdom (the smallest amount among the five kingdoms)

68%  The approximate amount of known species in Canada represented by the animal kingdom (the largest amount among the five kingdoms)

Nearly 70%  The amount of known animal species in Canada that are insects

578  The number of migratory species assessed, the majority of which were birds (71 per cent) and fishes (19 per cent).

1st  Where Ontario ranks among the most species-rich regions in the nation, given the taxonomic groups the report assessed. The province’s 15,858 species put it ahead of British Columbia (14,838 species) and Quebec (14,341 species).

80% The amount of species assessed that are considered secure. The remaining 20 per cent are at some level of risk of extinction.

1,659  The number of species ranked as “presumed extirpated,” “possibly extirpated,” “critically imperiled,” and “imperiled” at the national level in Canada. The groups that have the most of these species are, in descending order, vascular plants, bryophytes (liverworts, hornworts and mosses), beetles, macrolichens, and moths and butterflies

2,394  The number of species identified as exotic at the national level. The report refers to exotic species as those “that have been moved beyond their natural range as a result of human activity.”

1,315  The number of exotic species at the national level that are vascular plants, which represent 55 per cent of all exotic species assessed in the report

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