COSEWIC Wildlife Species Assessments (detailed version), May 2014*

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.

Mammals

Caribou Rangifer tarandus Endangered
     Southern Mountain population
Assessment Criteria   A3a+4a; C1
Reason for Designation
This population is largely restricted to Canada, except for < 40 animals in Idaho and Washington. It occurs in 15 extant subpopulations in southeastern British Columbia, most of which have no movement between them. Two subpopulations have been extirpated since 2002. The current estimate for the population is 1,294 mature individuals, which has declined by at least 46% in the past three generations, and 30% since the last assessment in 2002. All but two extant subpopulations are estimated to contain fewer than 250 mature individuals, with 9 of these having fewer than 50, and 6 with fewer than 15 mature individuals. Dispersal within the ranges of 11 subpopulations is severely limited. Surveys have shown consistently high adult mortality and low calf recruitment, accelerating decline rates. Threats are continuing and escalating.
Range   BC
Status History
The Southern Mountain population was designated Threatened in May 2000. This population was formerly designated as part of the "Western population" (now de-activated). Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2002. Following the Designatable Unit report on caribou (COSEWIC 2011), a new population structure was proposed and accepted by COSEWIC. This resulted in the new Southern Mountain population, composed of 17 subpopulations from the former Southern Mountain population of Caribou (COSEWIC 2002). The remaining subpopulations were assigned to the new Central and Northern Mountain populations.The Southern Mountain population was designated Endangered in May 2014.
 
Caribou Rangifer tarandus Endangered
     Central Mountain population
Assessment Criteria   A2a+3a+4a; C1+2a(i)
Reason for Designation
This population is endemic to Canada and occurs in 10-11 extant subpopulations in east-central British Columbia and west-central Alberta in and around the Rocky Mountains. The current estimate for the population is 515 mature individuals and it has declined by at least 62% over the past 3 generations. One subpopulation in central British Columbia may be extirpated, and an additional one in Banff was confirmed extirpated in 2010. All extant subpopulations are estimated to contain fewer than 250 mature individuals, with 7 of these having fewer than 50. Two recognized subpopulations in 2002 have since split due to lack of dispersal within former ranges. All subpopulations have experienced declines of about 60% since the last assessment in 2002, and declines continue for all but one subpopulation. Surveys have shown consistently high adult mortality and low calf recruitment, accelerating decline rates. Threats are continuing and escalating.
Range   BC AB
Status History
Following the Designatable Unit report on caribou (COSEWIC 2011), a new population structure was proposed and accepted by COSEWIC. This resulted in the new Central Mountain population, composed of 12 subpopulations from the previous Southern Mountain population of Caribou (COSEWIC 2002). The Central Mountain population was designated Endangered in May 2014.
 
Caribou Rangifer tarandus Special Concern
     Northern Mountain population
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
This population occurs in 45 subpopulations ranging from west-central British Columbia to the Yukon and western Northwest Territories. The majority of its distribution is in Canada, where it numbers about 43,000 - 48,000 mature individuals. There is little long-term (three generations) trend information, and many current estimates are based on survey data more than 5 years old. Currently 2 subpopulations are thought to be increasing, 7 are stable and 9 are declining. The condition of the remaining 27 subpopulations is unknown. The two largest subpopulations comprise > 15,000 animals, or 26-29% of the estimated population, and are thought to be stable. About half of the 45 subpopulations each contain < 500 individuals. All stable or increasing subpopulations are located in the northern part of the range, whereas 9 in the southern part of the range have declined by 26% since the last assessment. The status of northern subpopulations may be compromised in the future because of increasing threats, particularly land use change with industrial development causing shifts in predator-prey dynamics.
Range   YT NT BC
Status History
The Northern Mountain population was designated Not at Risk in May 2000. This population was formerly designated as part of the "Western population"(now de-activated). Status re-examined and designated Special Concern in May 2002. Following the Designatable Unit report on caribou (COSEWIC 2011), a new population structure was proposed and accepted by COSEWIC. This new Northern Mountain population is composed of all 36 subpopulations in the previous Northern Mountain population of Caribou in addition to 9 subpopulations from the previous (2002) Southern Mountain population. The Northern Mountain population was designated Special Concern in May 2014.
 
Wolverine Gulo gulo Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
This wide-ranging carnivore has an estimated Canadian population not likely exceeding 10,000 mature individuals. Although population increases appear to be occurring in portions of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Manitoba and Ontario, declines have been reported in the southern part of the range, e.g. in British Columbia, and populations in a large part of the range (Quebec and Labrador) have not recovered. The species may be extirpated from Vancouver Island. Population estimates are very limited, and trends are not known. Most data are limited to harvest records, and harvest levels may be under-reported because many pelts used domestically are not included in official statistics. There is no evidence, however, of a decline in harvest over the last 3 generations. This species’ habitat is increasingly fragmented by industrial activity, especially in the southern part of its range, and increased motorized access increases harvest pressure. Climate change is likely impacting animals in the southern part of the range, and this impact is expected to increase northward. The species has a low reproductive rate, is sensitive to human disturbance, and requires vast secure areas to maintain viable populations.
Range   YT NT NU BC AB SK MB ON QC NL
Status History
The species was considered a single unit and designated Special Concern in April 1982. Split into two populations in April 1989 (Western and Eastern populations). The original designation was de-activated. In May 2014, the Eastern and Western populations were considered as a single unit across the Canadian range and was designated Special Concern.
 

Birds

Loggerhead Shrike Eastern subspecies Lanius ludovicianus ssp. Endangered
Assessment Criteria   C2a(i); D1
Reason for Designation
In eastern Canada, this grassland bird species has been experiencing large-scale population declines and range contractions since at least 1970. There has been a 26% observed reduction in the number of mature individuals over the last 10 years in Ontario. These declines are primarily related to loss of suitable grassland habitat on both the breeding and wintering grounds. The Canadian population now numbers fewer than 110 mature individuals.
Range   ON QC
Status History
The species was considered a single unit and designated Threatened in April 1986. Split according to subspecies (excubitorides and migrans) in April 1991, and each received separate designations. The migrans subspecies was de-activated in May 2014 in recognition of new genetic information indicating that some of the individuals in southeastern Manitoba should not have been included in the migrans subspecies. Further split into a new unnamed subspecies (Eastern subspecies, Lanius ludovicianus ssp.) in May 2014 and was designated Endangered.
 
Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides Threatened
Assessment Criteria   A2b
Reason for Designation
In the Prairie provinces, this grassland bird species has been experiencing large-scale population declines and range contractions, since at least the 1970s. Its population has declined by as much as 47% over the past 10 years. These declines are primarily related to loss of suitable grassland habitat on both the breeding and wintering grounds.
Range   AB SK MB
Status History
The species was considered a single unit and designated Threatened in April 1986. Split according to subspecies in April 1991. The excubitorides subspecies retained the original Threatened designation from April 1986. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2004 and May 2014.
 
Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
Although population declines have occurred within this waterbird’s Canadian wintering area on the Pacific coast, this could largely be the result of a southern shift in wintering distribution rather than a true loss in population size. Nevertheless, on a continental scale, wintering populations have undergone a 44% decline from 1995 to 2010 based on Christmas Bird Count data. Some of this decline may also be the result of declines on the Canadian breeding grounds. In addition, this species’ propensity to congregate in large groups, both in breeding colonies and on its wintering areas, makes its population susceptible to a variety of threats, including oil spills, water level fluctuations, fisheries bycatch, and declines in prey availability.
Range   BC AB SK MB
Status History
Designated Special Concern in May 2014.
 

Reptiles

Eastern Milksnake Lampropeltis triangulum Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
This large, non-venomous snake continues to be relatively widespread in southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec, but has suffered localized declines concurrent with expanding urbanization and intensification of agriculture. The life history characteristics of this species, including late maturation, longevity (up to 20 years), and relatively low reproductive potential, increase its vulnerability to various anthropogenic threats, including habitat loss, persecution and collection for the pet trade.
Range   ON QC
Status History
Designated Special Concern in May 2002. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2014.
 

Amphibians

Small-mouthed Salamander Ambystoma texanum Endangered
Assessment Criteria   B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v)
Reason for Designation
The Canadian distribution of this salamander is restricted solely to Pelee Island. The entire Canadian range is only about 40 km2, and only three breeding sites are known. Although this species was first assessed as Endangered 10 years ago, there is little new information and new threats exist for this salamander. The continued existence of the population is precarious because of habitat degradation of wetland breeding sites. Predation and habitat destruction by recently introduced Wild Turkeys is a new threat to the existence of salamanders on Pelee Island.
Range   ON
Status History
Designated Special Concern in April 1991. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in May 2004 and May 2014.
 
Coastal Giant Salamander Dicamptodon tenebrosus Threatened
Assessment Criteria   A3c+4c
Reason for Designation
The Canadian distribution of this salamander is restricted to the Chilliwack drainage system in southwestern British Columbia, where it occurs mainly in cool, clear mountain streams and surrounding riparian forest. Major threats include habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation due to forest harvest, road building, and encroaching residential development. These threats may be exacerbated by droughts and flooding events that are predicted to increase with climate change. Poor dispersal ability, low reproductive rate, late maturity, and long generation time increase the vulnerability of the species.
Range   BC
Status History
Designated Special Concern in April 1989. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in November 2000 and May 2014.
 
Wandering Salamander Aneides vagrans Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
The Canadian distribution of this terrestrial salamander is restricted mainly to low elevation forests on Vancouver Island and adjacent small offshore islands in southwestern British Columbia. These salamanders depend on the availability of moist refuges and large diameter logs on the forest floor, as found in intact forests. The salamanders are threatened by logging, residential development, and severe droughts, storm events, and habitat shifts predicted under climate change. Low reproductive rate, poor dispersal ability, and specific habitat requirements contribute to the vulnerability of the species.
Range   BC
Status History
Designated Special Concern in May 2014.
 

Fishes

Copper Redhorse Moxostoma hubbsi Endangered
Assessment Criteria   B1ab(i,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,iii,iv,v)
Reason for Designation
This long-lived, late-to-mature fish is endemic to Canada where it is known from only three locations, one of which is probably extirpated. The species is exposed to many threats, the most severe of which include habitat degradation and fragmentation, eutrophication, and impacts of invasive species.
Range   QC
Status History
Designated Threatened in April 1987. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in November 2004 and May 2014.
 
Porbeagle Lamna nasus Endangered
Assessment Criteria   A2b
Reason for Designation
The abundance of this shark declined greatly in the 1960s after fisheries began targeting this species. A partial recovery during the 1980s was followed by another collapse in the 1990s. Numbers have remained low but stable in the last decade, since catch has decreased. Directed fisheries have been suspended since 2013, though there is still bycatch of unknown magnitude in Canadian waters and unrecorded mortality in international waters. This species’ life history characteristics, including late maturity and low fecundity, render it particularly vulnerable to overexploitation.
Range   Atlantic Ocean
Status History
Designated Endangered in May 2004. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2014.
 
Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss Endangered
     Athabasca River populations
Assessment Criteria   A4bce
Reason for Designation
This fish is an obligate resident of clear, cold flowing water in the upper Athabasca River drainage of Alberta. Quantitative sampling over the last two decades demonstrates that the majority of sites are declining in abundance with an estimate of >90% decline over three generations (15 years). Threats are assessed as severe due to habitat degradation associated with resource extraction and agricultural practices. Additionally, ongoing climatic change and associated altered thermal regimes and hydrology, habitat fragmentation, introgression from non-native Rainbow Trout, and fishing threaten the species. Potential impact of invasive Brook Trout is a concern.
Range   AB
Status History
Designated Endangered in May 2014.
 
Banded Killifish Fundulus diaphanus Special Concern
     Newfoundland populations
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
This species has a scattered distribution in insular Newfoundland and occupies a small area of occupancy. The species can be impacted negatively by turbidity and hydrological alterations that result from road, forestry, cottage, and hydrological development. It could become Threatened if these impacts are not managed or reversed with demonstrable effectiveness.
Range   NL
Status History
Designated Special Concern in April 1989. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2003 and May 2014.
 

Arthropods

Dakota Skipper Hesperia dacotae Endangered
Assessment Criteria   B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)
Reason for Designation
This butterfly is dependent on tall-grass and mixed-grass prairie habitats, which have suffered > 99% historical losses since the 1850s. The species occurs within fragmented patches of habitat in three population centres in Canada. It has a small home range and is associated with specific prairie plants, making it sensitive to conversion of prairie remnants to cropland, spring and summer haying, overgrazing, controlled burns, drainage of natural sites, and natural disturbances such as floods. The long-term persistence of this butterfly is dependent on appropriate management of its habitat, most of which consists of small fragments.
Range   SK MB
Status History
Designated Threatened in November 2003. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in May 2014.
 
Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee Bombus bohemicus Endangered
Assessment Criteria   A2abce
Reason for Designation
This large and distinctive bee is a nest parasite of other bumble bees. It had an extensive range in Canada and has been recorded from all provinces and territories except Nunavut. Although not known to be abundant, there has been a large observed decline in relative abundance in the past 20-30 years in areas of Canada where the species was once common, with the most recent records coming from Nova Scotia (2002), Ontario (2008) and Québec (2008). Significant search effort throughout Canada in recent years has failed to detect this species, even where its hosts are still relatively abundant. Primary threats include decline of hosts (Rusty-patched Bumble Bee, Yellow-banded Bumble Bee, and Western Bumble Bee), pesticide use (particularly neonicotinoids), and the escape of non-native, pathogen-infected bumble bees from commercial greenhouses.
Range   YT NT BC AB SK MB ON QC NB PE NS NL
Status History
Designated Endangered in May 2014.
 
Mormon Metalmark Apodemia mormo Endangered
     Southern Mountain population
Assessment Criteria   C2a(i)
Reason for Designation
This butterfly is found in very small numbers within small habitat patches in the narrow valley bottoms of the Similkameen and Okanagan valleys of southern British Columbia. The valley bottoms are also an important transportation and utility corridor, and the butterfly is threatened by road maintenance and other land development activities, as well as the growth of invasive plants that shade out their host plants.
Range   BC
Status History
Designated Endangered in May 2003. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2014.
 
Western Bumble Bee occidentalis subspecies Bombus occidentalis occidentalis Threatened
Assessment Criteria   A2bce
Reason for Designation
This bumble bee ranges in Canada from British Columbia (south of approximately 55-57ºN), through southern Alberta east to southern Saskatchewan. Approximately 30-40% of its global range is in Canada. Once considered one of the most common and widespread bumble bees in western Canada, this subspecies has experienced a significant (>30%) decline in recent years and has been lost from a number of sites in the southern portions of its range where it was once abundant. It has among the highest parasite loads (particularly the microsporidian Nosema bombi) of any bumble bee in North America. Ongoing threats to the species, particularly within the southern portions of its range, include pathogen spillover from commercially managed bumble bee colonies, increasingly intensive agricultural and other land use practices, pesticide use (including neonicitinoid compounds), and habitat change.
Range   BC AB SK
Status History
Designated Threatened in May 2014.
 
Mormon Metalmark Apodemia mormo Special Concern
     Prairie population
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
This butterfly occurs in the remote badlands and grassland habitats of Grasslands National Park and adjacent community pastures. Because of extensive surveys in the last decade, the known population of this butterfly is now large enough that it no longer meets the criteria for Threatened. There are few direct threats to the butterfly, although the slow spread of non-native plants that may compete with host plants and overgrazing in areas outside of the park are of concern and may impact habitat quality.
Range   SK
Status History
Designated Threatened in May 2003. Status re-examined and designated Special Concern in May 2014.
 
Western Bumble Bee mckayi subspecies Bombus occidentalis mckayi Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
This subspecies ranges in Canada from northern British Columbia (north of approximately 55-57ºN) through southern Yukon and westernmost Northwest Territories; at least 50% of its global range is in Canada. Recent surveys in northwestern Canada and Alaska suggest that it is still common. However, the southern subspecies of the Western Bumble Bee is experiencing a serious, apparently northward-moving decline, and because the causes of this decline are unknown, the northern subspecies faces an uncertain future. Recent studies in Alaska suggest that this subspecies has among the highest parasite loads (particularly the microsporidian Nosema bombi) of any bumble bee species in North America. Other potential threats include the unknown transmission of disease from exotic bumble bee species introduced for pollination in greenhouses (ongoing in the Yukon), pesticide use (including neonicitinoid compounds), and habitat change.
Range   YT NT BC
Status History
Designated Special Concern in May 2014.
 
Northwestern Cellar Spider Psilochorus hesperus Not at Risk
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
This small, rare spider is one of only two native cellar spiders in Canada. The species has a restricted range within bunchgrass and Ponderosa Pine dominated ecosystems and is found only within a specific habitat within these ecosystems. It requires cool, humid microhabitats beneath large rocks that enable its survival in otherwise hot and dry environments. This species has limited dispersal ability and small population sizes within isolated rocky habitats. Sites and habitats are potentially at risk from urban and agricultural development, road construction, and utility corridor maintenance activities. However, overall threats to the specific rocky habitats of the species are considered to be low at present. Furthermore, there is extensive potential habitat in the Similkameen and Okanagan Valleys that has not been surveyed for the species. These considerations resulted in the designation of Not at Risk.
Range   BC
Status History
Designated Not at Risk in May 2014.
 

Molluscs

Round Pigtoe Pleurobema sintoxia Endangered
Assessment Criteria   B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)
Reason for Designation
This mussel species occupies a small area in the Lake St. Clair watershed and three other watersheds in southern Ontario, where its habitat has been declining in extent and quality. Urban development, agricultural runoff, and impacts from the Zebra Mussel and the Round Goby are threatening the survival of the species in Canada.
Range   ON
Status History
Designated Endangered in May 2004. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2014.
 
Dromedary Jumping-slug Hemphillia dromedarius Threatened
Assessment Criteria   B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
Reason for Designation
This relatively large slug is a member of a small group of slugs that are found globally only in western North America. In Canada, despite a great deal of searching, this species is known from fewer than 20 sites on southern Vancouver Island. There, it is restricted to moist, older-growth (>80 years old) forests. Populations are invariability small, and are fragmented by intervening logged areas and by the species’ poor dispersal ability. Threats include further loss and fragmentation from forestry and the increased frequency and severity of droughts associated with climate change.
Range   BC
Status History
Designated Threatened in May 2003. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2014.
 

Vascular Plants

Hare-footed Locoweed Oxytropis lagopus Threatened
Assessment Criteria   B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
Reason for Designation
This member of the pea family occurs in highly restricted habitat within a small area of rough fescue prairie on gravelly soils in southern Alberta and western Montana. Alberta occurrences represent a large portion of the world population. The plants face numerous threats including competition with invasive alien plant species, mining and quarrying, cultivation, oil and gas drilling, road development, and intensive livestock grazing, all of which have not been mitigated and are contributing to continuing habitat loss and degradation.
Range   AB
Status History
Designated Special Concern in April 1995. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in May 2014.
 
Sweet Pepperbush Clethra alnifolia Threatened
Assessment Criteria   Met criteria for Endangered, B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v), but designated Threatened, B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v), due to the long lifespan of the species and the slow-acting main threat of competition from Glossy Buckthorn.
Reason for Designation
This disjunct Atlantic Coastal Plain clonal shrub is restricted to the shores of six lakes in a small area of southern Nova Scotia. Newly identified threats from the invasive exotic shrub Glossy Buckthorn and eutrophication have put this species at increased risk of extirpation. Shoreline development also remains a threat.
Range   NS
Status History
Designated Threatened in April 1986. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 1998. Status re-examined and designated Special Concern in May 2001. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in May 2014.
 
Nahanni Aster Symphyotrichum nahanniense Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
The global population of this species is restricted to hot springs in Nahanni National Park Reserve. A very small range and population size make this endemic species susceptible to losses through natural alterations due to geothermal processes or to landslide events that may become more frequent as climate warms and permafrost melts.
Range   NT
Status History
Designated Special Concern in May 2014.
 
Water Pennywort Hydrocotyle umbellata Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
This species is known from only three disjunct lakeshore locations in southern Nova Scotia, one of which was discovered since the last assessment. Alterations and damage to shorelines from shoreline development and off-road vehicles are ongoing threats, and water level management is a potential threat at one lake. Increased competition from other plants caused by eutrophication is a potential major future threat.
Range   NS
Status History
Designated Endangered in April 1985. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in April 1999. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2000. Status re-examined and designated Special Concern in May 2014.
 
*The assessment of Channel Darter (Percina copelandi) was deferred to a later meeting.

05/02/2014