Posts Tagged "endangered species"

Calgary Zoo to begin a captive breeding program for Greater Sage Grouse

Posted by on 26. January 2014 in Blog / Journal, Conservation, News & Events | Comments Off on Calgary Zoo to begin a captive breeding program for Greater Sage Grouse

Calgary Zoo to begin a captive breeding program for Greater Sage Grouse

Greater Sage Grouse populations are at critically low numbers in Canada. The estimated population size is less than 100 birds, most of them can be found in the grasslands of southwest Saskatchewan and southeast Alberta. In December of 2013, Environment Canada published the first ever Emergency Order under the Species at Risk Act to protect the Greater Sage Grouse on crown lands (see the related post, A step in the right direction). Later that month, Environment Canada released a proposal for the Amended Recovery Strategy for this species.   There have been previous attempts to supplement the Canadian population by bringing in adult birds from Montana, where the Sage Grouse is more abundant. Now, Calgary Zoo will begin a captive breeding and rearing program for this endangered species, in attempt to help stabilize the population numbers. The program will receive financial help from the Canadian Government in the amount of $2.1 million over the next 10 years. The Government of Alberta allocated a matching contribution of $2.1 million for the same program. The Calgary Zoo has had previous experience contributing to the recovery strategies for endangered species in Canada. Over the last few years, the Zoo employees took part in reintroduction and monitoring of Black-footed Ferrets in Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan, captive breeding programs for Whooping Cranes, and many other successful initiatives. Watch a short video about the release of Black-footed Ferrets in Grasslands National Park. Here is a press release from the Environment Canada about the Greater Sage Grouse captive breeding program: Working Together to Protect the Greater Sage-Grouse Government of Canada, Government of Alberta and the Calgary Zoo enter into multi-million dollar partnership for new program January 23, 2014 – Calgary, Alberta Minister Aglukkaq has announced a $2.1 million contribution for the Calgary Zoo’s new captive breeding and rearing program for the Greater Sage-Grouse. The Government of Canada is committed to protecting and preserving our rich biodiversity, as seen in the $25 million/year investment for species at risk in Economic Action Plan 2012. This program is breaking new ground—this will be the first time that Sage-Grouse have been bred and raised in captivity in Canada. This program is the next step in a series of actions the federal and provincial governments are taking to protect and bring back the Greater Sage-Grouse in Canada. On December 4th, the federal government published an Emergency Order to protect the Greater Sage-Grouse across 1700 km2 of crown lands in Alberta and Saskatchewan.  On December 20th the proposed Amended Recovery Strategy for Greater Sage?Grouse was published, which outlines the state of the species, provides information about the species and population objectives, and identifies new critical habitat. Quick Facts: In 2012, there were estimated to be between 93-138 adult birds in Canada. The population has declined by 98 percent since 1988. The Sage-Grouse captive rearing and breeding program will cost a total of just over $5 million over 10 years. The Government of Canada and the Calgary Zoo have been collaborating on endangered species recovery for decades. Quotes: “Our Government’s partnership with the Calgary Zoo in a captive breeding and reintroduction program is an important step to recovering the Greater Sage-Grouse in Canada. Our long-term goal is to establish a stable Sage-Grouse population in Canada through stewardship initiatives and partnerships.” – The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council “The Government of Alberta is proud to be supporting Sage-Grouse recovery in Alberta by contributing $2.1 million over 10 years towards the Greater Sage-Grouse captive breeding program at the Calgary Zoo. This is an...

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A step in the right direction: endangered Greater Sage Grouse to be protected by an emergency order

Posted by on 18. September 2013 in Blog / Journal, Conservation, News & Events | Comments Off on A step in the right direction: endangered Greater Sage Grouse to be protected by an emergency order

A step in the right direction: endangered Greater Sage Grouse to be protected by an emergency order

After many months of inaction and a few lost court cases, (see also news item about a court order requiring the government to designate critical habitat under the Species at Risk Act), the federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced today that an emergency order to protect an endangered species Greater Sage Grouse will be issued in the coming months. The order will impose restrictions on development and industrial activities to protect the Sage Grouse and its habitat on provincial and federal Crown lands in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The proposed restrictions will not affect activities on private land, nor will they restrict cattle grazing on federal and provincial Crown lands. The emphasis is on controlling the industrial activity that has had the largest impact on the species’ survival. Information posted on the Environment Canada’s backgrounder info sheet explains the intent of the announced measures: “Some constraints would applied to land use on approximately 1200 km2 of crown land in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The intent is to address seasonal noise, destruction of habitat, disturbance of breeding sites, and the creation of new structures without imposing restrictions on activities on private land, nor on grazing on provincial or federal crown lands. Our goal is to achieve the best protection for the Sage-Grouse while minimizing impacts on agricultural producers.”     An emergency order – a rare measure that has not been issues since the Canada’s Species at Risk Act was proclaimed in 2002 – can be issued when a species faces “imminent threats to its survival” and existing protection measures are deemed inadequate. Concerns have been raised that the endangered Sage Grouse could disappear from Canada after a dramatic drop in its population numbers over the last few years. Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment surveys conducted in 2012 show that there were only 55 to 80 individual birds left in the province, which is a 49% decline from the year before, or an 81% decline from 1994 when lek (breeding ground) counts first started. Situation in Alberta is even worse, with only a few dozen birds remaining in the province. The Greater Sage Grouse was present in British Columbia but is now considered extirpated there. According to the Environment Canada, fewer than 140 birds are left in the two western provinces, and the species’ population size has fallen 98% since 1988. The causes of the population decline include: loss or degradation of habitat, predation, and disease. Because there are so few individual birds left in Canada, the species here is vulnerable to extreme weather events.     Announcement of the emergency order to protect the Greater Sage Grouse is a step in right direction. Although, it is important to note that this is just an announcement that the order will be issued sometime in the future. In a statement issued to the Canadian press, Melissa Gorrie, lawyer for the group Ecojustice, said that “(We) have yet to see when – or even if – the emergency order will be implemented, and whether it will provide real, meaningful protection for these prairie birds and their critical habitat”. It is possible that the federal government will continue delaying the implementation of emergency measures or talk about “gradual implementation” of recovery measures. Delaying any activity and decision-making on the Species at Risk in Canada is a standard mode of action for the current federal Environment Ministers. In a recent article published by Globe and Mail, three scientists from the group called Scientists for Species reveal how recommendations for listing of Species at Risk in Canada can be delayed for over 1519 days in transit from the minister’s...

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