Biodiversity

NWT Species General Status Ranking

How do we track the status of wild species in the NWT?

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) works with other governments, agencies and wildlife co-management boards to share information and build on our collective knowledge about NWT species through the NWT Species General Status Ranking Program and the NWT Conservation Data Centre.

What is the NWT Species General Status Ranking Program?

The NWT Species General Status Ranking Program provides the starting point for our ongoing efforts to monitor and conserve biodiversity in the NWT. The program aims to provide official lists of all species known to be present in the NWT and determine their status and distribution every five years. All territorial and federal agencies and co-management boards with a role in managing or conserving wild species in the NWT are involved in the program.

Why rank NWT species?

The NWT is home to about 30,000 species. Some have a very important place in our economy and our cultures. Some species are facing threats due to human activities and other species are simply very rare. Increasing our knowledge of all species is essential to modern wildlife management and ecologically sustainable development.

An important first step in safeguarding biodiversity is to increase our knowledge of each species and to provide a mechanism to rapidly evaluate and rank the conservation status of each species. Monitoring the status ranks of species is important to detect changes before they become critical and to determine which species need a more detailed assessment of their conservation status or closer monitoring.

Which NWT species are ranked under this program?

Thousands of species have been ranked under the program since 1999. Species ranked as May be at Risk or At Risk require more attention or investigation and are the highest priority for more detailed assessment by either the NWT Species at Risk Committee (SARC) or by Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

How are species ranked?

Starting in 2011, the NWT General Status Ranking Program adopted the standard protocol developed by NatureServe to rapidly evaluate and rank the conservation status of species. This allows NWT data to be combined with the results of similar programs in Canada and throughout the western hemisphere.

More information on NatureServe standards and methods can be found on the NatureServe Canada website.

NWT Conservation Data Centre

The Northwest Territories (NWT) contributes to an international network of biodiversity databases through the NWT Conservation Data Centre (CDC).

All CDC programs are part of NatureServe, and share common methodologies for collecting and managing biodiversity data and information. This allows us to pool data across geopolitical boundaries and to rapidly evaluate and rank the general conservation status of thousands of species in Canada and throughout the western hemisphere.

Where can I find ranking information on NWT species?

Official NWT species ranks are published in the most current NWT Species report. Ranks in each report are valid for five years.

The raw information used to evaluate and rank the general status of NWT species is searchable through the NWT Species Infobase.