Manitoba home to 31 of 308 endemic species in Canada
Written by Libby GiesbrechtSaturday, Jun 13 2020, 10:12 AM
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Two years of combined work between the Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) and NatureServe Canada has resulted in Canada's first catalogue of all its endemic species.
The report covers 308 plants, fungi, and animal species, subspecies, and varieties, and the distribution, status and conservation need for these plants and creatures only found here.
Of the 31 species that call Manitoba home, nearly 2/3 are invertebrates, and northern Manitoba does have a significant portion of breeding habitat for Harris's Sparrow.
"We know around the world we are seeing an extinction crisis," says Dan Kraus, Senior Conservation Biologist with NCC. "Scientists have estimated up to a million species could be at risk of extinction in the next few decades. These are the plants and animals where no other country can protect them, and they're up to Canada alone to preserve for future generations."
Kraus says we've only begun to scratch the surface of discovering endemic species and learning about them.
"For some of the lesser know species, there are many insects that remain to be discovered In Canada. Even as we were doing this report, there were new discoveries and descriptions of species. We hope the report if there are Universities out there, museums, or even students of biology, ecology, and evolution, they can realize they don't need to go somewhere else to make interesting or useful discoveries."
Most of the endemic species in Manitoba are found along the coast of Hudson Bay, or prairie and boreal ecoregions shared with Saskatchewan, and in Manitoba's north. Kraus says protecting these ecosystems is essential in preserving the biodiversity of our country.
Species found by the southern border face threats of habitat loss, and those in the north which have small populations and are found in small remote areas are vulnerable to climate change.
According to the report, less than 20 percent of Canada's endemic species have been assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.