COSEWIC Wildlife Species Assessments (detailed version), May 2015*

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

North Pacific Right Whale Eubalaena japonica Endangered
Assessment Criteria   A2abd; D1
Reason for Designation
After an absence of verified sightings of the species in Canadian waters for over 60 years, sightings of two separate individuals in 2013 confirmed that the current range includes Canadian waters. The numbers in the eastern North Pacific are extremely low, with estimates of fewer than 50 individuals in the southeastern Bering Sea, the only known area of regular occurrence of this population. It is most unlikely that the number of mature animals exceeds 250 individuals over its entire range.
Range   Pacific Ocean
Status History
The Right Whale was considered a single species and designated Endangered in 1980. Status re-examined and confirmed in April 1985 and in April 1990. Split into two species in May 2003. North Pacific Right Whale was not re-evaluated in May 2003; it retained the Endangered status of the original Right Whale. Status re-examined and confirmed Endangered in November 2004 and May 2015.
 
Eastern Wolf Canis sp. cf. lycaon Threatened
Assessment Criteria   D1
Reason for Designation

This species is an intermediate-sized canid with a generally reddish-brown/tawny coat. It has a small population size (likely < 1000 individuals) and a restricted range, limited to south-central Ontario and south-central Quebec. Most records come from scattered protected areas, where mortality and rates of hybridization with Eastern Coyotes occurs less frequently than elsewhere in its range. Population expansion is unlikely, owing to competition with Eastern Coyote and increased mortality outside protected areas.

Range   ON QC
Status History
In 1999, the Eastern Grey Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) was considered a subspecies of the Grey Wolf and was placed in the Data Deficient category.  Status was re-examined (as Eastern Wolf, Canis lupus lycaon) and designated Special Concern in May 2001. New genetic analyses indicate that the Eastern Wolf is not a subspecies of Grey Wolf.  In May 2015, a new wildlife species, Eastern Wolf (Canis sp. cf. lycaon) was designated Threatened.

 
Ermine haidarum subspecies Mustela erminea haidarum Threatened
Assessment Criteria   C2a(i)
Reason for Designation

This genetically distinct subspecies of Ermine is known only from Haida Gwaii. The species appears to have declined to small population size due to habitat changes associated with the introduction of Black-tailed Deer, and possible competition for food with an increasing population of Pacific Marten. A comparison of results of recent, intensive sampling efforts with historical trapping records suggests a decline in numbers, and that the population is expected to continue to decline due to ongoing threats.

Range   BC
Status History
Designated Special Concern in April 1984. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in May 2001 and May 2015.
 

Birds

Black Swift Cypseloides niger Endangered
Assessment Criteria   A2b
Reason for Designation
Canada is home to about 80% of the North American population of this bird species. It nests in cliff-side habitats (often associated with waterfalls) in British Columbia and western Alberta. Like many other birds that specialize on a diet of flying insects, this species has experienced a large population decline over recent decades. The causes of the decline are not well understood, but are believed to be related to changes in food supply that may be occurring at one or more points in its life cycle. The magnitude and geographic extent of the decline are causes for conservation concern. 
Range   BC AB
Status History
Designated Endangered in May 2015.
 

Reptiles

Western Rattlesnake Crotalus oreganus Threatened
Assessment Criteria   A3cd+4cd
Reason for Designation

The Canadian distribution of this snake is confined to arid valleys of south-central British Columbia, where its population is suspected to continue declining due to road mortality and persecution. Habitat loss from urbanization and agriculture constitute additional threats. Threats to the species are exacerbated because the snakes congregate at overwintering dens, the persistence of which is critical for the survival of local populations. Life history characteristics that include late maturity, small litters, and infrequent breeding by females hinder recovery after disturbances.

Range   BC
Status History
Designated Threatened in May 2004. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2015.
 
Prairie Rattlesnake Crotalus viridis Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation

The species has undergone declines since the 1930s, primarily resulting from large-scale habitat loss from cultivation and increased road mortality. Some local populations have experienced substantial recent declines and the species still faces serious threats across its Canadian range. The species may become Threatened if factors suspected of negatively influencing its persistence are neither reversed nor managed with demonstrable effectiveness.

Range   AB SK
Status History
Designated Special Concern in May 2015.
 

Amphibians

Northern Red-legged Frog Rana aurora Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation

The Canadian distribution of this species is restricted to southwestern British Columbia, where it overlaps areas of dense human population in the Lower Fraser Valley and southeastern Vancouver Island and actively managed forest lands within the remainder of its range. Over the past ten years, local declines and disappearances have been documented, but the species has persisted across its known historical range. The frog continues to face many threats from introduced species such as American Bullfrog and illegally stocked sport fish, road mortality, urban development, logging, dams and water management, and the pollution of breeding sites. If those threats are not effectively mitigated, the species is likely to decline further and become Threatened.

Range   BC
Status History
Designated Special Concern in April 1999. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2002, November 2004, and May 2015.
 

Fishes

Warmouth Lepomis gulosus Endangered
Assessment Criteria   B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
Reason for Designation
This species of sunfish has a very small distribution in Canada, occurring only within the Lake Erie drainage. It exists at few locations and is subjected to continuing decline in habitat quality due to a complexity of ecosystem modifications to its preferred vegetated habitat, primarily from the establishment of dense beds of non-native aquatic plants and eutrophication resulting from agricultural runoff.
Range   ON
Status History
Designated Special Concern in April 1994. Status re-examined and confirmed in November 2001 and in May 2005. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in May 2015.
 
Winter Skate Leucoraja ocellata Endangered
     Eastern Scotian Shelf - Newfoundland population
Assessment Criteria   A2b
Reason for Designation
Abundance of mature individuals is estimated to have declined 98% since the early 1970s, and is now at a historically low level. This population’s range size has varied over this time, having increased until the mid-1980s, with a decrease since then. Overfishing in the 1980s and 1990s, including from directed skate fisheries, may have contributed to declining abundance over that period. The main threats since then have been unsustainably high non-fishing mortality, possibly due to predation by Grey Seals, as well as fishing mortality due to bycatch in fisheries targeting other species.
Range   Atlantic Ocean
Status History
The Eastern Scotian Shelf population of Winter Skate was assessed as Threatened in May 2005, and the Northern Gulf - Newfoundland population was assessed as Data Deficient in May 2005. The COSEWIC Guidelines for Recognizing Designatable Units (2013) were used to revise the population structure for the 2015 assessment, resulting in new designatable units. The new Eastern Scotian Shelf – Newfoundland population is composed of the former Eastern Scotian Shelf population and parts of the former Northern Gulf - Newfoundland population. The remaining subpopulations of the Northern Gulf - Newfoundland population were assigned to the new Gulf of St. Lawrence population. The Eastern Scotian Shelf – Newfoundland  population was designated Endangered in May 2015.
 
Winter Skate Leucoraja ocellata Endangered
     Gulf of St. Lawrence population
Assessment Criteria   A2b
Reason for Designation
Abundance of mature individuals is estimated to have declined 99% since the early 1980s, and is now at a historically low level. There has also been a severe reduction in range size, which is also at a historical low.  If current trends continue, this population is in danger of imminent extinction.  There is no commercial fishery for this population, though declines in the 1970s and 1980s may have been due to an unsustainable rate of mortality from bycatch in fisheries targeting other groundfish species. Currently, all individuals that are caught must be returned immediately to the water. The species has a slow rate of population growth, and the main threat appears to be unsustainably high non-fishing mortality, possibly due to predation by Grey Seals.
Range   Atlantic Ocean
Status History
The Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence population of Winter Skate was assessed as Endangered in May 2005, and the Northern Gulf - Newfoundland population was assessed as Data Deficient in May 2005. The COSEWIC Guidelines for Recognizing Designatable Units (2013) were used to revise the population structure for the 2015 assessment, resulting in new designatable units. The new Gulf of St. Lawrence population is composed of the former Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence population and parts of the former Northern Gulf - Newfoundland population. The remaining subpopulations of the Northern Gulf - Newfoundland population were assigned to the new Eastern Scotian Shelf - Newfoundland population. The Gulf of St. Lawrence population was designated Endangered in May 2015.  
 
Black Redhorse Moxostoma duquesnei Threatened
Assessment Criteria   B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
Reason for Designation
This species of fish has a limited extent of occurrence and area of occupancy. It is found only in a few rivers in southwestern Ontario, and is under continuing threats to habitat quality due to the cumulative impacts of pollution from urban wastewater and agriculture and alterations to flow regimes.
Range   ON
Status History
Designated Threatened in April 1988. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2005 and May 2015.
 
Shortnose Sturgeon Acipenser brevirostrum Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
This large-bodied, slow-growing, late-maturing fish is found only in a single river estuary system in Canada where spawning fish aggregate in a single known location. Although there are no imminent threats toward the species, its limited distribution makes the species vulnerable to becoming Threatened if conditions thought to negatively impact it (variable flow patterns, pollution, bycatch in commercial fisheries, and poaching) are not managed effectively.
Range   NB NS
Status History
Designated Special Concern in April 1980. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2005 and in May 2015.
 
Winter Skate Leucoraja ocellata Not at Risk
     Western Scotian Shelf - Georges Bank population
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
Survey results since the 1970s were highly variable from year to year, but show no decline. The area occupied by this population also shows no trend. Neither fishing mortality nor predation by other species appears to be causing declines in this population.
Range   Atlantic Ocean
Status History
Species designated Special Concern in May 2005. Status re-examined and designated Not at Risk in May 2015.
 

Arthropods

Ottoe Skipper Hesperia ottoe Endangered
Assessment Criteria   B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
Reason for Designation
The species is a short grass and sand prairie specialist that occurs in small isolated populations within the fragmented and declining prairie habitats of southwestern Manitoba. Historically, this species has been found at only three sites in Canada. Any remaining populations in its historical range must be restricted to a very small area in southwestern Manitoba. Recent search effort has not recorded the species, but there is unsurveyed habitat within Canadian Forces Base Shilo that is not possible to survey. Threats include over-grazing, invasive plants that out-compete host plants, and loss of remnant habitats to agriculture.
Range   MB
Status History
Designated Endangered in May 2005. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2015.
 
Vivid Dancer Argia vivida Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
This damselfly is found in southern British Columbia and Banff, Alberta. Through much of its Canadian range it is restricted to thermal springs, but in the hot valleys of the Okanagan and the Fraser it is also found in cooler, spring-fed creeks. Habitat loss and degradation at most sites suggest subpopulations have declined. The species is threatened by intensive recreational use of thermal springs, livestock trampling at cool springs, and introduced fish. Sites are also vulnerable to potential tourism development and changes in springs caused by events such as droughts, earthquakes and landslides.
Range   BC AB
Status History
Designated Special Concern in May 2015.
 
Yellow-banded Bumble Bee Bombus terricola Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
This bee has an extensive distribution in Canada, ranging from the Island of Newfoundland and the Maritime provinces, west to eastern British Columbia, and north into the Northwest Territories and extreme southwestern Yukon. Perhaps 50-60% of the global range of this species occurs in Canada. This species was historically one of the most common bumble bee species in Canada within its range. However, while this species remains relatively abundant in the northern part of its range, it has recently declined by at least 34% in areas of southern Canada. Causes for declines remain unclear, yet pesticide use, habitat conversion, and pathogen spill over from managed bumble bee colonies are suspected contributing factors.
Range   YT NT BC AB SK MB ON QC NB PE NS NL
Status History
Designated Special Concern in May 2015.
 

Molluscs

Proud Globelet Patera pennsylvanica Endangered
Assessment Criteria   B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii); D1
Reason for Designation
This large terrestrial snail is found in the upper mid-west of North America, with Canada’s single recorded occurrence in and near a wooded park in Windsor, Ontario. General snail surveys conducted throughout southern Ontario over the last century have not detected this species anywhere else. Freshly dead shells were found in 1992 and 1996 but only dead, weathered shells were found in extensive surveys in 2013. Human intrusions and disturbances from recreational activities and ecosystem modifications from invasive plants and animals, the surrounding urbanization, pollution from local and regional sources, and climate change may have contributed to the species’ demise; it appears another native snail disappeared from the same area at the same time.
Range   ON
Status History
Designated Endangered in May 2015.
 

Vascular Plants

Spiked Saxifrage Micranthes spicata Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
This perennial wildflower grows only in Yukon and Alaska. In Canada it is restricted to small sites in a restricted geographical area where it shows genetic differences from the Alaskan population. It lives along cool, shady creeks and in moist, rocky alpine areas that may be affected by mining activities and the potential effects of climate change.
Range   YT
Status History
Designated Threatened in May 2013. Status re-examined and designated Special Concern in May 2015.
 

Mosses

Banded Cord-moss Entosthodon fascicularis Special Concern
Assessment Criteria   not applicable
Reason for Designation
This rare moss is largely restricted to southwestern British Columbia in Canada, with most occurrences in the threatened Garry Oak habitat. One past collection was made in the Kootenay region in southeastern British Columbia, but whether the species still persists there is unknown. Should habitat destruction and degradation continue, the species will become increasingly vulnerable.
Range   BC
Status History
Designated Special Concern in May 2005. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2015.
 

Lichens

Black-foam Lichen Anzia colpodes Threatened
Assessment Criteria   A2c+3c; C2a(i)
Reason for Designation

In Canada, this lichen is at the northern edge of its range, and is known from Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It appears to be extirpated from Ontario and Quebec and has not been seen in New Brunswick for about a decade. It occurs on sites dominated by mature deciduous trees with high humidity and moderate light. In Nova Scotia, this lichen is widespread but not common. The reasons for its decline are not clear. The main current threat is deforestation. Additional threats may include grazing by molluscs and climate change.

Range   ON QC NB NS
Status History
Designated Threatened in May 2015.
 

*The review of classification of Verna’s Flower Moth (Schinia verna) was completed. COSEWIC decided that a fully updated status report is required to assess the status of this wildlife species. The assessments of Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) and Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor flaviventris) were deferred. It is anticipated that these wildlife species will be re-considered by COSEWIC in November 2015.



05/01/2015