Canada, with its vast areas of land and abundance of resources, is home to many unique and complex habits that house a number of important species. Environmental policies play a key role in the survival of many endangered animal and plant species and guide conservation efforts in Ontario. In order to protect at risk species and conserve their habitats, government officials need to place greater importance on creating effective policies that target root problems and help address fundamental issues like habitat loss, pollution and human interaction with these species and their environment.
The terms at-risk species and endangered species are very similar in definition and will therefore be used interchangeably. The following is the Parks Canada (2009) definition of an at-risk species:
“Species at risk are in danger of becoming extinct (gone from the world) like
the dinosaurs or extirpated (gone from a certain part of the world) like the wolf
in Nova Scotia. Species at risk are usually at risk because of the environmental
or human-induced changes to them or their habitat on a local, regional or global
In class, some of the various at-risk animal species were discussed but plant species and smaller autotrophic organisms were not detailed therefore they will be excluded for the purpose of this paper, although many of these species are just as important as animal species. This essay will look at the numerous problems these animals face in their attempt to survive. Habitat loss, pollution and human interactions (humans impeding on their habitat) are among the most pressing issues facing wild animal species such as the American Badger, the Barn Owl and the Wood Turtle and as the Environmental Commissioner (2012) states, “the government of Ontario needs a strategic plan of action to conserve, protect and recover our province’s biological diversity” (p. 17).
The Environmental Commissioner (2012) Gordon Miller created a special report for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario that addresses Ontario’s duty to protect and conserve biological diversity, as it is being threatened on a global scale (p. 5). He points of how Ontario’s biodiversity is inextricably linked with many of the things essential to our livelihood—air and water quality, along with the soil, land and water where the nations natural resources come from. Miller also agrees that habitat degradation, over exploitation and pollution are among the most significant threats and also points of the threat from invasive species and climate change (p. 5). The Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 is one of the most powerful tools Ontario has at its disposal (p. 9) and should therefore use this to further conservation efforts and to develop better policies. Miller also points out how the government needs to use a united approach and co-ordinate the actions of all relevant ministries in order to create a strategic plan and produce productive policies (p. 10).