A bird and three plants have been added to the province’s list of species threatened with extinction.
The province made the announcement Monday, and also declared that a gull found in Churchill is officially endangered, not just threatened.
“Once they’re gone they’re irretrievable,” said Jim Duncan of the wildlife and ecosystems protection branch of Manitoba Conservation. “They’re priceless.”
The Hackberry tree, the Hairy prairie-clover and buffalo grass were added to the list of “threatened” species, along with the Sprague’s pipit, a small grassland bird. The Ross’s gull, found in Churchill, was bumped up from “threatened” to “endangered.”
Endangered animals are those facing imminent extinction.
Threatened ones are those that are likely to become endangered or are facing serious population decline.
It’s illegal to kill, injure or disturb a threatened or endangered species or its habitat, and fines for repeat offenders can hit $100,000. Conservation Minister Stan Struthers said the designations give the province more power to protect the animals and plants and develop action plans to revive them.
Ron Thiessen of the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, said he was pleased to see the new additions to the province’s “species at risk” list. But he said the province ought to move more quickly to harmonize its list with the federal one.
Thiessen said there are about 26 species on the national endangered list that should also be on Manitoba’s list.
The government has started work on choosing another round of species to add to the endangered list, and species on the federal list are a top priority, said Duncan.
On the List
THE province added four more names to the list of threatened species and upgraded another one to “endangered”. There are already more than 20 species that are threatened or endangered.
Say that three times fast. It’s a plant common in sandy areas, but it’s threatened by off-road vehicles, overgrazing and the invasion of exotic species.
A grass that only grows for about 25 kms along the Souris and Blind rivers. It’s threatened because its habitat has been shrinking due to farming.
An elm-like tree with tiny berries and heavily-ridged bark found only in two places in Manitoba—the south end of Lake Manitoba and a sandhill area of the southwest. It’s threatened by recreational development, oil exploration and cattle grazing.
A prairie bird which breeds only in the extreme southwest corner of the province. The pipit’s grassland habitat has been shrinking due to fires, farms and the invasion of exotic species, so the number of pipits has declined over the last forty years. It’s now threatened.
Named after northern explorer John Ross, the small gulls have distinctive wedge-shaped tails and a unique black collar around their necks. During their breeding season, their breasts develop a deep pink hue, something tourists travel to Churchill to see. Churchill is one of only two or three known breeding grounds, but disturbance from bird watchers and tourists near the nests have reduced breeding success. The bird has been downgraded from threatened to endangered.
—Source: Manitoba Conservation and Environment Canada