Species at risk

Elk Island National Park

What is a species at risk?

A species at risk is one that requires special considerations for its conservation.

Some species have suffered significant declines in their numbers or distribution and are on the path toward local and, perhaps, global extinction. These species require immediate help while others need attention to ensure they don't start down this path.

Why worry about species at risk?

Protecting the full range of life on earth sustains the health and beauty of our planet. A rich diversity of species is reflective of a healthy and functioning ecosystem.

How are species at risk protected in national parks?

Through the Canada National Parks Act, all plants, animals and natural objects in national parks are protected.

Parks Canada gives special attention to species listed in the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and to those that have been assessed as being of conservation concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

Species at Risk Act rankings
  • Extinct: Gone forever
  • Extirpated: Locally, regionally or nationally extinct, but exists elsewhere in the wild
  • Endangered: Facing imminent extirpation or extinction if nothing is done to reverse the threats
  • Threatened: Likely to become endangered if nothing is done to reverse the threats
  • Special concern: Sensitive to human activities or natural events, but not an endangered or threatened species

SARA Schedule 1 Species at Risk


  • Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus)
  • Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis)


  • Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
  • Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae)*
  • Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi)*
  • Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)*

Special Concern

  • Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)
  • Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus), western population
  • Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis)
  • Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas), calling population
  • Western Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium), prairie/boreal population

*Recommended by COSEWIC for downlisting to Special Concern status

Other species at risk considered in park management


  • Plains Bison (Bison bison bison) **

**COSEWIC listed; not yet listed on SARA Schedule 1

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