It’s of little surprise, but now there’s data to back up our claim: our government is failing animals.
The CBC has reported that a new study shows 86 per cent of legally protected species are “[maintaining] the same level of risk or have deteriorated over time.”
The article also outlines how animals are protected: a two-step process, including an evaluation by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and the final decision by Minister of the Environment – currently, Conservative Leona Aglukkaq.
"The government can choose not to list the species even if it needs listing," said Dr. Brett Favaro, a scientist with Memorial University in an interview. "That decision takes into account how expensive it would be to protect them."
It’s not just the animals themselves that need protection, though. As we all know, habitat protection is vital to keep bio-diversity flourishing. But according to Dr. Favaro and his colleagues, that simply isn’t happening – or at least not happening to the extent the Act dictates it should.
"If you're not protecting habitat, then no matter how long we leave something listed, it seems unlikely that it's going to recover and do better," he told the CBC. "At [the point of listing in the Act], I don't think we should take half-measures," he says. "If we're going to list it, I think we should go all the way."
It’s time to remind our elected representatives that we care about our environment and the animals. Write to your Member of Parliament and demand that the Species At Risk Act is enacted appropriately and necessary funding for it made available. You can find your MP’s email address on this list. Please forward any responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear (MP’s name),
It’s extremely disturbing to see that 86 per cent of the legally protected species in Canada have only maintained if not deteriorated. This government has a terrible track record for environmental issues and I demand that you, as my elected representative, take the time to look into this upsetting news, create an action plan, and designate appropriate funding.
The animals and environment matter to me and my family. We will remember your actions come election time.
(Your name and address)