Canadian-Focused Policy Brief Tackles Species at Risk Act

By Colleen Hartel

Polar bear Polar bears are listed as a species of special concern under SARA.
Image Credit: Gary Kramer, USFWS

The Policy Brief Series, TWS’s go-to resource for information regarding wildlife-related federal policies and programs, welcomes a new addition. Members of The Wildlife Society can now readily access information regarding the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA), which aims to prevent species from becoming extinct and aid in species recovery.

Passed in 2002, SARA governs evaluation of “at risk” species submitted by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The Minister of the Environment then makes the decision to recommend COSEWIC-submitted species to be listed as one of the SARA categories.

SARA requires the development of management plans for species listed as “special concern” and requires recovery strategies for species listed as “threatened,” “endangered,” or “extirpated.”

Currently, 521 plant and animal species are listed at risk throughout Canada. COSEWIC has recently assessed the status of 20 additional species, which will be submitted to the Minister of the Environment for listing consideration in the fall.

Summaries of COSEWIC assessments and Federal status of SARA species are both available to the public online.

The Government Affairs team is working on additional policy briefs on both American and Canadian conservation policy. The complete Policy Brief Series, along with other policy resources, can be accessed at wildlife.org/policy.

Colleen Hartel is a policy intern at The Wildlife Society as part of the Government Affairs & Partnership program.

Read more of Colleen's articles.