News release

Nova Scotia Adds to Endangered Species List

Four Nova Scotia species -- two plants, a mammal, and a reptile -

  • will now be protected by the province's Endangered Species Act.

Two of the new species at risk are classified as endangered, which means they could become extinct in Nova Scotia if steps to reverse the decline of these species are not taken.

The first is the mainland moose. For more than 200 years it has seen a drop in numbers and distribution and now only about 1,000 creatures are left in small populations across the mainland part of the province.

The second species, the boreal felt lichen, currently exists in only one site in Nova Scotia. In the 1980s there were more than 40 known sites.

The tubercled spike rush, a species of Atlantic coastal plains plant, is listed as threatened. It is found nowhere else in Canada but on the shores of five lakes in Nova Scotia.

The fourth species, the Eastern ribbon snake, is a semi-aquatic snake that is confined to the southwest part of the province. The species is threatened by habitat loss due to shoreline development.

"Assessing wildlife species that are considered to be at risk is the first step. It is through the efforts of the Species at Risk Working Group that we, as a government, are able to identify and protect species at risk under the legislation," said Natural Resources Minister Richard Hurlburt. "Individual landowners and organizations outside government are important in the recovery of these species. We must also keep in mind that species at risk can be important indicators of our environmental health."

The Endangered Species Act was proclaimed in May 1999 and reflects Nova Scotia's commitment to the National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk.

The legislation helps protect threatened and endangered species by prohibiting activities that could disturb or destroy the species or their habitat. The act includes fines for people caught harming species or their habitat.

Nova Scotia was the first province to bring in this kind of legislation. A total of 24 species have now been placed under its protection in Nova Scotia.

The complete list of species at risk is available at www.gov.ns.ca/natr/wildlife/endngrd/specieslist.htm .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Two plants, a mammal and a reptile are being added to species protected by the province's Endangered Species Act.

The boreal felt lichen and mainland moose population are classified as endangered. They could become extinct in Nova Scotia if steps to stop the decline in these species are not taken.

The tubercled spike rush, a coastal plains plant found along Nova Scotia lake shores, is listed as threatened.

The fourth species is the Eastern ribbon snake. It is also listed as threatened because is restricted to specialized habitats and little is known about the species. Its habitat is threatened by shoreline development.

Twenty-four species in the province are now protected by endangered species legislation. The act includes fines for people caught harming protected species or their habitat.

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Contact:

Mary Anna Jollymore
Natural Resources 902-424-2354 E-mail: