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Species at Risk

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Species at Risk in Canada

Aboriginal groups, scientists and people with an interest in the natural world have noticed and documented the disappearance of certain plants and animals for some time.

Every jurisdiction in Canada has signed the national Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk and, in doing so, has agreed to work towards a national approach for protecting species at risk, with the goal of preventing species in Canada from becoming extinct as a consequence of human activity.

Responsibility in the NWT

The responsibility for the conservation of wildlife in the Northwest Territories (NWT) is shared by the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), the Tlicho Government and wildlife co-management boards. The Government of Canada has ultimate responsibility for the management of migratory birds (as described in the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994), fish, marine mammals and other aquatic species (as described in the Fisheries Act). Parks Canada is responsible for all species found within their protected heritage areas. The GNWT has primary responsibility for all other species.

Government of Canada

In 2003, the Government of Canada enacted the federal Species at Risk Act, with the goal of protecting wildlife species and their habitats. The purposes of the Species at Risk Act are to prevent wildlife species from being Extirpated or becoming Extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are Extirpated, Endangered or threatened as a result of human activity, and to manage species of Special Concern to prevent them from becoming Endangered or Threatened. The Species at Risk Act establishes a process for conducting assessments of the national population status of individual species, and a mechanism for listing Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern species. Under the federal Species at Risk Act, the Government of Canada is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of protection for individuals, residences and critical habitat for listed species.

Government of the Northwest Territories

In 2009, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) passed the Species at Risk (NWT) Act, which helps fulfill the NWT commitment under the national Accord to provide effective protection of species at risk that are managed by the territory. The Species at Risk (NWT) Act sets out the processes to assess, list, protect and recover species at risk specifically for the NWT. The Species at Risk (NWT) Act applies to any wild animal or plant species managed by the GNWT. It applies on both public and private lands, including private lands owned under a land claims agreement.

The Species at Risk Act and the Species at Risk (NWT) Act are designed to work in a complementary fashion with other legislation and cooperatively with Aboriginal people to protect species at risk and their habitats. 

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