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Endangered Species

We are at the forefront of research, public education and policy work to recover at-risk plants and animals.

Algonquin wolf © Lev Frid


Protecting Ontario’s endangered species is woven into the fabric of all of our programs. We strive to keep our most vulnerable plants and animals in the public eye, and to hold decision-makers accountable. Working with youth, farmers, naturalists, Indigenous partners, industry leaders, land use planners and other environmental organizations, we educate the public and champion on-the-ground and policy-based solutions to advance species recovery.

Monarch butterfly © Mike Willis CC BY-ND 2.0

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For Action Alerts and updates on Ontario’s endangered species and other pressing conservation issues, please join our e-news community.

Why it Matters

We are now in the throes of the largest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs more than 65 million years ago. Globally, almost one in eight birds, one in four mammals, and one in three amphibians are in jeopardy. Habitat loss and degradation, climate change, invasive species, pollution and overexploitation of natural resources are driving the decline.

In Ontario, there are well over 200 plant and animal species that are at-risk of extinction or of disappearing from the province, a number which is growing every year. Their loss or decline affects the functioning and resilience of food webs and landscapes – jeopardizing the well-being of all living things, including humans.

Piping plovers © Brendan Toews


Ontario’s decision to end hunting of snapping turtles is a welcome move, according to the David Suzuki Foundation, Canadian Herpetological Society and Ontario Nature. Ontario lists the snapping turtle as a species of “special concern,” which means that although it is not yet endangered or threatened, a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats could endanger or threaten it.

Similarly, in 2017 the Government of Ontario ended the legal hunting of snapping turtles, again because scientists and citizens demanded action.

Snapping turtle © Scott Gillingwater

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