Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC)

In Canada, a number of animal and plant species have a particular status: Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern or Not at Risk. An independent advisory body called the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) evaluates the country’s wildlife species. This committee includes scientists and conservation officers representing the provincial, territorial and federal governments as well as the private sector.

At least once a year, COSEWIC members meet to evaluate the situations of certain species and to assign them a status. Their evaluation is based on a status report prepared by a designated scientist. This report paints a picture of the status of the species and includes the best scientific, community and traditional aboriginal data available.

Although a COSEWIC-granted status has no legal power, the Canadian government’s decisions as to whether or not to add a species to its List of Wildlife Species at Risk are based on COSEWIC’s evaluations.

Since it was created in 1977, COSEWIC has evaluated nearly 600 species, sub-species or populations in Canada and has designated over 400 species as being at risk. The thirteen species of the St. Lawrence have already been assessed by COSEWIC and have received a status.

To learn more, visit the website of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada