News release

Nova Scotia Adds to Endangered Species List

NATURAL RESOURCES--CXN--Nova Scotia Adds to Endangered Species List


Five more plants and another animal in Nova Scotia will now be protected by the province's Endangered Species Act.

Three of the new species at risk are classified as endangered, which means they could become extinct, at least in Nova Scotia, at any time. They include plymouth gentian, water pennywort and the Cape Breton population of the American marten.

The American marten is a small mammal that is not at risk elsewhere in Canada, except in Newfoundland, where it is also endangered. In Cape Breton, the population of this species is very small and suitable habitat is limited. There was not enough information to assess the status of American marten on mainland Nova Scotia.

Of the three remaining plant species, golden crest is threatened and New Jersey rush and Long's bulrush are vulnerable. Species identified as threatened could become endangered. Vulnerable species are particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events.

The five plant species are Atlantic coastal plain plants, which have attracted the attention of scientists and the conservation community. Efforts to recover these species are already underway.

"It is important that we all work together to ensure that these species will be here in the future," said Natural Resources Minister Ernest Fage. "We know that species at risk can be important indicators of environmental health. When we take steps to improve the situation for species at risk we also benefit many others, including ourselves."

The Endangered Species Act, the first of its kind in Canada, was proclaimed in May 1999 and reflects Nova Scotia's commitment to the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. The minister appointed six scientists to the Nova Scotia Species at Risk working group, which continues to assess the status of Nova Scotia plants and animals that may require special protection.

The legislation helps protect wildlife by banning activities that could disturb or destroy protected species or their habitat. Since it was passed in 1999, 16 species in Nova Scotia have been placed under its protection. The minister can also appoint special recovery teams to help maintain or increase plant or animal populations.

Members of the working group include: chair Sherman Boates, Ruth Newell, Fred Scott, Tom Herman, Liette Vasseur and Marty Leonard. All members have extensive experience in wildlife and conservation biology.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Five more plants and another animal in Nova Scotia will now be protected by the province's Endangered Species Act.

The American marten, a small mammal, and five plants now face extinction, at least in this province, or are especially sensitive to human activity.

Nova Scotia was the first province to bring in this kind of legislation, after a national agreement to protect species at risk.

Sixteen species in the province are now protected by the act, which includes fines for people caught harming species or their habitat.

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Contact:

Angela Campbell
Communications Nova Scotia 902-424-2876 E-mail:
Dr. Sherman Boates
Natural Resources 902-679-6146 E-mail:
Mark Elderkin
Natural Resources 902-679-6219 E-mail:
kjd            July 9, 2001        2:39 P.M.