Fisheries and Land Resources

Species at Risk

Newfoundland and Labrador is home to unique wildlife and plant species, and some need our help to survive.  American marten, Long's braya, and Red Crossbill are examples of species at risk that are part of our landscape, and their loss would forever diminish our natural heritage. The Wildlife Division coordinates the assessment and listing of species at risk, and develops recovery and management plans, monitoring programs, and research projects to promote their conservation. We're working to ensure that no native species becomes extinct in this province due to human activity or interference, as described in our Species at Risk Policy PDF icon (519 KB).

Newfoundland and Labrador's Endangered Species Act provides special protection for plant and animal species considered to be endangered, threatened, or vulnerable in the province, and fulfils our commitment under the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk PDF icon (13 KB).  The Act applies to species, sub-species and populations that are native to the province but does not include marine fish, bacteria, and viruses. It also does not apply to introduced species, except in extraordinary circumstances. Designation under the Act follows recommendations from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and/or the Species Status Advisory Committee (SSAC) on the appropriate assessment of a species.

COSEWIC is an independent, national committee of government and non-government scientists who determine the national status of species, subspecies and nationally significant populations considered to be at risk of extinction or extirpation across their range in Canada. Similarly, the SSAC is an independent, provincial committee of government and non-government scientists who determine the provincial status of species, subspecies and populations. The evaluation process of both the SSAC and COSEWIC is independent, open and transparent, and based on the best available information on the biological status of species including scientific, community and traditional knowledge.

Currently there are 35 species, subspecies, and populations listed under the Act. Thirteen of these species are listed as endangered, nine are listed as threatened and thirteen are listed as vulnerable. There are approximately 100 people participating on fourteen recovery teams and working groups around the province or acting as provincial representatives on six national recovery teams. These volunteers come from government, industry, universities, interest groups, First Nations and local communities.


Endangered: A wildlife species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.

Threatened: A wildlife species that is likely to become endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction.

Vulnerable: A wildlife species that has characteristics which make it particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events (equivalent to COSEWIC's designation of Special Concern).

For details on these designations please review this brochure PDF icon (2.8 MB). Additional information on the criteria used to arrive at these designations is appended to the annual reports of the SSAC.

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