Protecting space for Wildlife: A national Habitat Crisis

From World Wildlife Fund Canada

Just as we need housing, wildlife need somewhere to live. Half of Canada’s monitored species are in decline, by a staggering 83 per cent, and even wildlife protected under Canada’s Species at Risk Act are failing to recover. Wildlife simply can’t survive with increasingly degraded or destroyed habitats. They need to find food, mate, migrate and raise their young. Climate change only makes matters worse.

Canada is committed to protecting at least 17 per cent of terrestrial space and inland waters, and taken together these spaces should represent the different types of habitat wildlife need, creating a connected network of protected areas. 

World Wildlife Fund Canada

Species at risk habitat is not being protected:

  • 84% of habitats with high concentrations of at-risk species are inadequately or not at all protected.

Widespread habitat fragmentation and loss is a double-whammy for wildlife since vital, natural spaces like forests, peat bogs and soils provide both habitat and an essential service: These natural areas store carbon and if protected, can help keep the climate in balance.

Across Canada we are not protecting the wide variety of physical habitats that wildlife need:

  • 76% of physical habitats in Canada are inadequately or not at all protected.

In particular, our protected areas do not safeguard critical species freshwater habitat including lakes, rivers, and wetlands:

  • 91% of physical habitats do not have adequate protection of shorelines.

Finally, the vast majority of Canada’s carbon-rich habitats – those forests, peat bogs, and soils that are storing significant amounts of carbon and preventing increased warming associated with climate change – have not yet been protected.

  • 77% of habitats with high densities of soil carbon are inadequately or not at all protected.
  • 74% of habitats with high densities of forest biomass are inadequately or not at all protected.

Source: Protecting space for Wildlife: A national Habitat Crisis

Suggested Reading: Letter from World Wildlife Fund – Delisting of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve

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