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Displaying 1-16 of 16 results
Article

Weasel

The weasel is a small, long-bodied, carnivorous mammal of the family Mustelidae. Three species of weasels are found in Canada: the short-tailed weasel, also known as the ermine or stoat (Mustela erminea), the long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata), and the least weasel (Mustela nivalis). The least weasel is the smallest species in the order carnivora. The genus Mustela also includes mink, black-footed ferret, and the introduced European ferret.

Article

Midge

Midges are small, slender-bodied flies with long antennae, belonging to various families. Three families are especially important: non-biting midges (Chironomidae), biting midges (Ceratopogonidae, also called no-see-ums), and gall midges (Cecidomyiidae). In Canada, there are more than 1,300 named species of midges from these groups, and scientists expect at least as many more live here. The larvae of most non-biting and biting midges are aquatic, while most larval gall midges live and feed inside of growths on plant tissues. Midges are found all across Canada and in a variety of habitats.

Article

Wild Turkeys in Canada

The wild turkey (Meleaagris gallopavo) is a species of bird native to North America. There are six subspecies of M. gallopavo, two of which have populations in Canada: the Eastern wild turkey, M. gallopavo silvestris and Merriam’s wild turkey, M. gallopavo merriami. The Eastern wild turkey is native to southern Ontario and Quebec, while Merriam’s wild turkey was introduced to Manitoba in 1958 and to Alberta in 1962. In the 1960s, Merriam’s wild turkey naturally expanded their range from the northwestern United States into southern British Columbia. Today, Merriam’s wild turkey can also be found in Saskatchewan.

Article

Snake

A snake is a long, slender reptile of the suborder Serpentes, order Squamata (which also includes lizards). In Canada, 26 species and one hybrid are native. Most species are found in the southern part of the country.

Article

Endangered Animals in Canada

Many animals in Canada face the risk of extinction. Animals are put at risk for several reasons, including: climate change, the loss of forest and grassland to cities and agriculture, hunting, fishing, and the pollution of lakes and rivers. As of 2021, 554 animal species are at risk in Canada, according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. In addition, 18 are extirpated and 18 extinct. The committee’s definition of a wildlife species includes taxonomic categories as well as geographically distinct populations. For example, the beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) is included in the list of at risk animal species six times, as there are six different populations facing different threats to their survival. (See also Endangered Plants in Canada.)

Article

Rattlesnake

Rattlesnake is the common name for about 30 species of venomous, viperid snakes in the genera Crotalus and Sistrurus, found from southern Canada to South America. Three species of rattlesnake are found in Canada: the Western rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganous), the prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridus) and the massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus). Another species, the timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) is extirpated, meaning the species no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but lives elsewhere.

Article

Extinct Animals in Canada

As of May 2021, 18 animal species once found in Canada are now extinct, according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The committee’s definition of a wildlife species includes taxonomic categories as well as geographically distinct populations. For example, the Atlantic salmon appears on COSEWIC’s list of at-risk species 15 times, as there are 15 populations of Atlantic salmon in Canada facing different threats to their survival. Similarly, when one of these populations goes extinct — as was the case for Atlantic salmon in Lake Ontario in 1898 — there are specific, cascading effects for the ecosystem that the population belongs to. Communities may lose fishing opportunities and other animals may lose a source of food. Though the Atlantic salmon is an example of a species with populations still observable in the wild, this list of 18 also includes animals that no longer exist anywhere on the planet, such as the sea mink or great auk. The reasons for the extinction of these animals range from overhunting to predation from invasive species to,­ in the case of the Eelgrass limpet, a plight of slime mould.

Article

Bowhead Whale

The bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) is a large baleen whale living in Arctic waters. Two populations are found in Canada: the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Sea population and the Eastern Canada-West Greenland population. During the summer, the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Sea population is found in the waters of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, while the Eastern Canada-West Greenland population is found in Davis Strait, Baffin Bay, Lancaster Sound, Hudson Strait, Foxe Basin, northwest Hudson Bay and the channels and fjords of the Arctic Archipelago. Commercial whaling began in the 1500s and ended around 1915. Both populations of bowhead whale were severely reduced by this industry. While their numbers have increased, other challenges, such as climate change and oil and gas development, pose threats to bowhead whales.

timeline event

Death of the Last Sable Island Horse in Captivity

Veterinarians at Shubenacadie Wildlife Park near Halifax euthanized an unnamed, 30-year-old Sable Island Horse. It was the last of its kind in captivity. Its death reignited a longstanding debate about what to do with the 400 or so feral horses that live on Sable Island. The invasive species was introduced to the island — a remote spit about 300 km east of Nova Scotia — in the 1750s. They have stripped it of virtually all vegetation. About 10 per cent of the herd dies every year due to starvation.

Article

John Joseph Kelso

John Joseph Kelso, journalist and social reformer (born 31 March 1864 in Dundalk, Ireland; died 30 September 1935 in Toronto, Ontario). A lifelong advocate for the rights of children and animals, Kelso founded the Toronto Humane Society, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Fresh Air Fund and Santa Claus Fund. Kelso left a legacy as an early founder of the social services system in Ontario.

Article

Agriculture in Canada

Agriculture is the practice of growing crops and rearing animals mainly for food. Farmers also produce other items such as wool from sheep and CBD oil from hemp plants.

In Canada, agriculture is an important industry. Only about 7 per cent of Canada’s land can be farmed. Other marginal (poorer) land can be used to ranch cattle. Aquaculture operations are found on the East and West Coasts and in the Great Lakes. Some crops such as tomatoes, cannabis and flowers are grown in greenhouses in urban centres. Canadian agriculture faces many challenges. Some of these challenges concern crop protection, soil conservation, labour, climate change and health.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

Editorial

Endangered Arctic Animals

The list of endangered animals in Canada is long:

456 as of 2013, over 40 per cent of which face imminent extinction.

While these animals make their home in every province and territory, some of the reasons for their decline — including climate change and habitat destruction — are easiest to observe in the Arctic. For example, scientists note that temperatures near the North Pole are rising twice as fast as the rest of the world, meaning sea ice — a crucial competent to Arctic ecosystems — is rapidly disappearing. Meanwhile, the Inuit are observing changes in animal migration patterns and population numbers, both of which affect their traditional hunting practices.

This exhibit highlights six of the animals struggling to adapt to changes in the Arctic: the polar bear, caribou, narwhal, bowhead whale, beluga and walrus. Images by internationally-renowned photographer Paul Nicklen introduce each of the animals, while excerpts from The Canadian Encyclopedia provide information on each species’ specific challenges. To complete the series, Yellowknife-based journalist Ashleigh Gaul pays tribute to the walrus hunt, making the connection between the loss of animal habitat and the loss of Inuit culture.