17 Most Endangered Species in Canada

Most Endangered Species in Canada

Canada is home to thousands of different species of animals and plants. The country is known for its diverse landscape, from plains, mountains, rivers, and lakes to the Arctic tundra. However, due to the changes in the climates, deforestation, pollution, and global warming, many species and animals are in danger of extinction.

Today, there are more than 500 endangered species in Canada, of which 20 or more species are extinct as of 2021.

These species vary from exotic animals like bears and eagles to Deer and Moose. Even though there are laws that save the remaining endangered species and help to recover the threatened species, like the Species at Risk Act, the animals are still extinction alarmingly in the Great White North country. Some nearly extinct wildlife include Leather-back Turtles, Beluga Whales, Ground Squirrels, Pacific Pond Turtles, Peary Caribou, and many more.

Many endangered plants in Canada are on the verge of extinction, such as the Western Blue Flag, or the Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus.

17 Most Endangered Species in Canada

1. Leatherback Sea Turtle

Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys Coriacea), named after its leathery shell, is a migrating water animal throughout the North Atlantic Ocean.

These turtles can weigh up to 1,500 pounds and heighten up to 7 feet long. The largest turtles are alive globally and can live up to 50 years.

Leatherback Sea Turtle
By icestylecg/Shutterstock

More than 1,000 turtles go to the Atlantic Canadian Sea yearly to eat jellyfish. But due to marine pollution, changes in nesting beaches, climate change, fisheries, and poaching of their eggs, more than 70% of the population of these turtles has declined globally.

It is also said the ultimate reason for their dramatic decline in their number is entanglement with the discarded fishing gear with which they are choked or stopped from moving, which causes them to drown or starve to death.

The conservation of the Leatherback Sea Turtle can only be done with international cooperation as these turtles are migratory.

2. Narwhal

By Dotted Yeti/Shutterstock

Narwhal, also known as Monodon Monoceros, is a whale with a long horn on its forehead. They are also famously known as the Unicorns of the Sea. These animals are distant relatives of the Beluga Whale.

Narwhal is mostly found in Canadian Waters and eastern Greenland. It is a medium-sized whale that is known as a specialized arctic predator. It mainly feeds on flatfish under the ice of the sea.

Narwhal lives up to 50 years and can grow up to 13 to 18 feet. They can weigh from 800 to 1,600 kg.

Like most marine animals, these species are at risk due to climate change, fishing, pollution, oil spills, and shipping.

3. North Atlantic Right Whale

North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena Glacialis) is one of the largest marine animals.

These whales got their name ‘Right Whale’ from being the right whale to hunt due to their size and the fact that they float when killed. Unfortunately, because of this hunting, these species were almost nearing extinction in the early 1900s. Later, whale hunting was made illegal and was a punishable offence.

North Atlantic Right Whale
By Hello Adobe/Shutterstock

They are threatened by ships, entangled in fishing gear, and destruction of their Habitat. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is an organization that helps conserve endangered animal species worldwide.

The WWF has had significant success in protecting the Right Whale. The shift of the ships in Canada’s Bay of Fundy in 2003 has reduced the chance of ships striking whales by up to 80% in Canadian waters.

4. Sea Otter

Sea Otters (Enhydra Lutris) are marine mammals native to the North Pacific Ocean Coasts. These otters belong to the weasel family and are the smallest marine mammal in the world. It is one of the threatened species in Canada.

It just has an average body length of about 4 feet only and has one of the densest furs in the animal kingdom. This fur keeps them warm in the cold and harsh waters.

Even though they are small, don’t mistake them for prey. Rather, they are very strong predators and have a major role in the marine ecosystem. They are now found on the west coast of Vancouver Island and a part of the Central coast of British Columbia.

By Anchor Lee/Unsplash

Sea Otters were settled in large numbers in Canadian waters. But otters were hunted by a large margin between 1740 to 1911. These animals were killed for their fur. The population of these Sea Otters declined sadly.

The serious threats for sea otters include oil spills, entanglement in fishing gear, disease, and habitat destruction. Oil ruins the fur of the otters, thus causing the otters to freeze and die. Many things are done to keep this species from becoming extinct.

One of the main things done is making protected areas for them to live in. This project gives lakes in Canada, the US, and Mexico.

5. Peary Caribou

Peary Caribou (Rangifer Tarandus Peary) might be one of the least-known animals in the world. They’re only found in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and now they are one of the most endangered animal species in Canada.

Buck Peary Caribou
By Paul Loewen/Shutterstock

It is a close and medium-sized relative of the Moose. Male and female caribou can grow antlers.

The Peary Caribou can weigh from 60 kg to 1110 kg and grow from 4.7ft to 5. 7ft. They are herbivorous, fast runners and great swimmers.

The number of Peary Caribous has decreased considerably in the past years. According to the reports, only about 13,200 caribous are remaining.

The time change of the ice melts in the Arctic, and the freezing affects their migrating pattern and makes it difficult for them to find food. The harsh cold has also caused various herds to starve.

6. Atlantic Whitefish

Atlanta Whitefish (Coregonus Huntsman) is a fish that is found in the lakes and rivers of Nova Scotia. They are one of the native species. The last wild population of Atlantic Whitefish was found in the Petite Rivière watershed and now only 1,000 Atlantic whitefish are remaining in the area.

These fishes have a unique life cycle and fully developed teeth. These fishes are the most ancient whitefish species in North America. 

Atlantic Whitefish
By zabanski/Shutterstock

The whitefish is threatened by habitat degradation, pollution, and predation. Due to the measures, Nova Scotia’s whitefish population has been controlled and expanded as a part of a new strategy for species recovery.

This action plan was announced by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). 

7. Blue Whale

The Blue Whale (Balaenoptera Musculus) must be the most obvious one on this list. These whales can weigh 200 tons and grow up to 98ft.

blue whale
By Atomic Roderick/Shutterstock

The Blue whale is critically endangered due to climate change, ship strikes, fishing nets, and pollution. Many organizations are working to save the remaining whales and their habitats. One such organization is the Sierra Club of Canada Foundation

This group aims to be very active in the representation of the threatened Blue Whales in Atlantic Canada. They also advocate for awareness, research, and responsible management of this marine ecosystem.

8. Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee

The Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee (Bombus Bohemicus) is another at risk of extinction species in Canada. The primary threat to their decline is the loss of their natural habitats. They need a specific type of meadow to live, and with the increasing development in Canada, these natural habitats for these bees are disappearing.

By K5000/Shutterstock

The use of herbicides and pesticides is also a reason for the fall. These chemicals kill the bees or make it impossible to find food. These bees are the main pollinators of the wildflowers in Canada. If these bees are extinct, then it can mess up the Eco-systems.

The special concern includes parasites, global warming, and climate change.

Currently, some associations try to protect the species and research and provide protection. Canada’s Ontario province’s bee recovery plan is to identify their habitat requirement, the threats, and how to eliminate them.

9. Whooping Crane

Whooping Crane (Grus Americana) is one of the largest birds in North America. The bird stands over five feet tall and has eight feet of wingspan. There are usually white with black wingtips, and they also have a brownish-red patch on their heads.

Whooping cranes are found in the Wetlands of Alberta and Saskatchewan, where these cranes nest and breed.

whooping crane
By Richard Seeley/Shutterstock

Whooping cranes usually mate for life. They typically lay two eggs per year. These cranes were once found abundantly.

Their numbers have decreased sharply due to hunting and loss of habitat. Thus, today less than 500 Whooping Cranes remain in the area.

The Whooping Crane Recovery Team was established by the Canadian Wildlife Service to help conserve and protect this species. This team initiates efforts that include breeding, habitat production and management, and reintroduction programs like the Species at Risk Act.

10. Wolverine

No matter how much this sounds imaginary or unreal, an animal is identified as Wolverine. Wolverine (Gulo Gulo) is a fierce and hardy animal.

By AB Photographie/Shutterstock

Wolverine is about a size of a medium-sized dog and is a distant relative of wolf and beer. It is a native species and the population of this animal is at risk. Only a few hundred animals remain in this world.

Wolverines are in danger due to habitat destruction, trapping, and hunting.

The Wolverine is being discussed for protection under the Species at Risk Act. Many organizations are working to help protect this animal, including the Wolverine Foundation and the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

11. Bow-head Whale

The bowhead whale (Balaena Mysticetus) are found in Canadian waters. These whales are very large and can grow up to 60 feet long.

Currently, there are only a few hundred of these whales in the world.

endangered species in canada
By Richard Sagredo/Unsplash

The declining population of these whales is caused by humans hunting them, predation, entangling in fishing gear, shipping, and oils and gas development in the Arctic.

The special concern for these whales is hunting. Once upon a time, these marine mammals have extensively hunted, which in turn lowered their population and never recovered. These innocent animals are still hunted to this date.

World Wildlife Fund Canada and other organizations are working together to protect these endangered animals. It also includes reducing threats.

12. Harlequin Duck

The Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus Histrionicus) is a small sea duck. They are found in the eastern part of Canada, which contains New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

These ducks normally prefer cold and fast-flowing rivers and streams and can grow up to 430mm and weigh up to 1.3 kg.

Harlequin Duck
By Wilfred Marissen/Shutterstock

Harlequin ducks are threatened by habitat loss due to development and pollution. This also makes it harder to find food for the ducks. Global warming and changing weather also play a role in this.

These ducks are protected under the Species at Risk Act. The Canadian government is also working to conserve its natural habitat. A management plan was developed for the eastern region of Canada called Environment Canada 2007.

13. Northern Leopard Frog

The Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens or Rana Pipiens)is a native frog species. The Canadian government has this species considered endangered wildlife species.

These frogs release certain enzymes that can be a potential cure for cancer. Hence, it is also used for research purposes.

Northern Leopard Frog
By Jason Patrick Ross/Shutterstock

Even though the eastern population of this animal is not endangered, the rocky mountain variation is endangered.

The Northern Frog is believed to be decreased due to several factors. These special concerns include habitat loss, surroundings degradation, disease, and climate change.

Many organizations and people are working to help this species. One such organization is the Wilder institute. This institute creates a conservation program from captive breeding to reintroducing the species to suitable locations.

14. Vancouver Island Marmot

The Vancouver Island Marmot (Marmota Vancouverensis) is a ground squirrel. They are small and can grow up to 56 to 70 cm and weigh up to 5.5 kg.

Vancouver Island Marmot
By Frank Fichtmueller/Shutterstock

They are found only on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. These animals are shy, elusive and I’ve, and often are not seen by humans. Despite this, they are the most endangered species.

A group has helped to lead conservation initiatives that saved marmots from extinction. The effort includes awareness, fundraising, captive breeding, working with local communities to create a good habitat, and supporting organizations like The Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Foundation. This foundation is a charity that is dedicated to conserving these Marmots.

15. Blanding’s Turtle

The Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea Blandingii)is a unique turtle found in Canada. These turtles are semi-aquatic. These species are native to eastern and central parts of Canada and the United States. They are also freshwater turtles.

Blanding’s Turtle
By Brian A Wolf/Shutterstock

These turtles are considered critically endangered. There are special concerns that it may get extinct soon.

The reasons for the decline in the Blanding turtle population are habitat loss as wetlands, their home being destroyed or degraded for development, illegal trade in turtles as collectors prize them, and often these turtles are killed on roads as they cross them.

There has been a federally mandated conservation effort in Nova Scotia, which includes protecting nesting habitats, evaluating incubation and effectiveness, and relocating adult turtles and hatchlings.

16. Burrowing Owl

A burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia)is a small and long-legged owl. These owls are also known as hill owls or ground owls.

By mumunha/Shutterstock

This owl got their name from their habit of nesting and roosting the excavated burrows by the prairie dogs and other animals. They are found in native grasslands, rangelands, and agricultural areas. These owls are active during the days but avoid the midday heat.

They are usually found in North and South America.

This animal has many subspecies, and the colours vary from the species. These owls are closing toward their extinction.

Several things are being done to help this owl. These efforts include establishing suitable habitat quality, new owl colonies, and providing artificial nest boxes.

17. Piping Plover

Piping Plover (Charadrius Melodus Melodus)is a small shorebird. They nest and raise the young along Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia coasts.

This bird is 5.9 to 7.5 inches in length, 14-16 inches in wingspan, and 1.5 to 2.3 oz in mass. They are calm and shy birds. They like to breed, rest and feed.

Piping Plover
By Brian E Kushner/Shutterstock


These species are on the verge of extinction; somehow, it’s our fault. We couldn’t save them. These innocent animals depend on nature, but we can’t keep them. There are many more animals that are on the verge. There are thousands of animals and various species, which can end any day now.

Thousands of organizations, institutes, groups, and volunteers are hard to make these animals survive the danger. But more should be done as the numbers are still decreasing, which is a major worry for our safety. If these animals and their species end, the ecosystem will go haywire, and the balance of nature can get ruined. This is a serious threat as this can affect the world’s population.

Many laws and plans only aim to create a natural and safe habitat for these endangered species. We are responsible for developing and adapting to the changes making these animals.

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