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20 Most Sadly Endangered Species in Canada

Photo by Siegfried Poepperl on Unsplash

Canada is a wonderful land with a wide variety of animals. Canada is known for its diverse landscape, from plains, mountains, rivers, and lakes to the Arctic tundra. Due to the varied land, many species made these lands their home. But due to the changes in the climates, deforestation, pollution, and global warming, many species and animals are in danger of extinction. There are more than 500 endangered species in Canada, of which 20 or more species are extinct as of 2021.

Many species vary from exotic animals like bears and eagles to Deer and Moose. Even though there are laws that save the remaining endangered species in Canada 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 Turtle, Beluga Whale, Ground Squirrel, Pacific Pond Turtle, Peary Caribou, and many more.

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

It is humankind’s responsibility to care for our endangered species and nature, which is declining rapidly. There is also a Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) under Environment Canada, which is formed to the list of endangered animals in Canada.

Many active associations and groups are working hard to stop these animals from being endangered and conserve their natural habitats. Some groups are also creating suitable habitats for those species that lost their natural habitats.

Most Endangered species in Canada

Leatherback Sea Turtle

Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys Coriacea), named after its leathery shell, is a migrating water animal throughout the North Atlantic Ocean. These are one of the endangered species in Canada. 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.

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, an endangered species in Canada, can only be done with international cooperation as these turtles are migratory.


Narwhal, also known as Narwhal(Monodon Monoceros), is a whale with a long horn on its forehead. There are also famously known as the Unicorns of the Sea. It is one of the endangered species in Canada. 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.

North Atlantic Right Whale

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

Image by itprax from Pixabay

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 offense.

They are threatened by ships, entangled in fishing gear, and destruction of their Habitat. World Wildlife Fund for Nature (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.

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 endangered species in Canada. It just has an average body length of about 4 feet only. The sea otter 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.

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

Photo by Anchor Lee on Unsplash

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

Peary Caribou

Peary Caribou (Rangifer Tarandus Peary) might be one of the least known animals in the world. It is because it is found only in Canada. They are one of the most endangered animal species in Canada. It is a close and medium-sized relative of the Moose. They’re only found in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. 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.

Caribous are herbivorous. They are 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.

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 number of endangered species in Canada has critically decreased. According to the report, the last wild population of Atlantic Whitefish is found in the Petite Rivière watershed.

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. 

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). 

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. This is also the most endangered species in Canada.

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

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.

Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee

The Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee (Bombus Bohemicus) is the most endangered species in Canada. They need a specific type of meadow to live, and with the increasing development in Canada, these natural habitats for these bees are disappearing.

The primary threat to their decline is the loss of their natural habitats. 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.

Whooping Crane

Whooping Crane (Grus Americana) is one of the largest birds in North America. It is also one of the endangered species in Canada. It stands at 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 cranes usually mate for life. They typically lay two eggs per year. These cranes were once found abundantly. There were only 14 cranes in 1941, but now there are more than 79 due to conservation efforts. 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.


No matter how much this sounds imaginary or unreal, an animal is identified as Wolverine. Wolverine (Gulo Gulo) is a fierce and hardy animal. It is one of the endangered species of Canada. This is a native species. The eastern population of this animal is at risk. Only a few hundred animals remain in this world.

Wolverine is about a size of a medium-sized dog. Wolverine is a distant relative of wolf and beer. 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.

Bow-head Whale

The bowhead whale (Balaena Mysticetus) is yet another endangered species in Canada. They are found in Canadian waters. Currently, there are only a few hundred of these whales in the world. These whales are very large and can grow up to 60 feet long.

endangered species in canada
Photo by Richard Sagredo on 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.

Harlequin Duck

The Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus Histrionicus) is a small sea duck. It is also one of the most endangered species in Canada. 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. These ducks can grow up to 430mm and weigh up to 1.3Ib.

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.

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. It is also one of the most endangered species in Canada. The leopard frog is big. It can grow up to 4.3 inches.

endangered species in canada
Image by Bernell MacDonald from Pixabay

These creatures are adapted to the cold. There are various color variations. These frogs release certain enzymes that can be a potential cure for cancer. It is also used for research purposes. Even though the eastern population of this animal is not endangered, the rocky mountain variation is endangered.

The northern leopard 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.

Vancouver Island Marmot

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

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 organization like The Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Foundation. This foundation is a charity that is dedicated to conserving these Marmots.

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

endangered species in canada
Image by Jason King from Pixabay

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 is also an act known as Species at Risk to rescue these animals. 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.

Burrowing Owl

A burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia)is a small and long-legged owl. They are usually found in North and South America. These owls are also known as hill owls or ground owls. 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 days but avoid the midday heat.

These owls are enlisted as the most endangered species in Canada. This animal has many subspecies, and the colors vary from the species. These owls are closing towards 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.

A recovery team working under RENEW formulated a recovery strategy for these Burrowing Owls in 1995. This strategy was amended in 2002.

Piping Plover

Piping Plover (Charadrius Melodus Melodus)is a small shorebird. They are one of the most endangered species in Canada. They nest and raise the young along Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia coast. Piping Plover is now enlisted as an endangered animal in Canada. 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.

endangered species in canada
Image by cadop from Pixabay

The plover is threatened by natural habitat destruction, predation, and population. They are calm and shy birds. They like to breed, rest and feed.

So many organizations and groups worked to protect this bird. There is various recovery plan for the bird. This plan includes monitoring, protecting, and stewarding. Some volunteers and partners collaborate to assist this species at risk with the Ontario province recovery strategy.


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 endangered species in Canada, 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 in Canada. We are responsible for developing and adapting to the changes making these animals.

Written by Nicky Rose Roy

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