The Canadian Peregrine Foundation


June 29, 2006

The bald eagle and the peregrine falcon were two of the first species listed in Regulation and protected by the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Pesticide contamination nearly wiped out peregrines and drastically reduced bald eagle populations in the 1960s and 1970s. Both species have recovered significantly since DDT and other pesticides were banned and aggressive recovery efforts were undertaken. There are now an estimated 1,400 pairs of bald eagles in Ontario and 70 pairs of peregrine falcons.

De-regulation and Down-listing

The peregrine falcon has recovered so well it is being removed from the list of species in Regulation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Its status has been downlisted from endangered to threatened. The population of peregrines continues to increase each year. The species will continue to be protected as a Specially Protected Raptor under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act which protects it from hunting and trapping and also protects nests and eggs. The Planning Act and forest management planning will continue to provide habitat protection.

The bald eagle will continue to be protected under the ESA south of the French and Mattawa Rivers . North of this line it will be downlisted from Endangered to Special Concern and will continue to be protected as a Specially Protected Raptor under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. The act protects the bald eagle from hunting and trapping and also provides protection for nests and eggs. The forest management planning process will continue to provide habitat protection.

Species at Risk Status Definitions:

Extinct - a species that no longer exists anywhere

Extirpated - any native species that no longer exists in the wild in Ontario , but still occurs elsewhere

Endangered - any native species facing imminent extinction or extirpation from Ontario .

Threatened - any native species that is at risk of becoming endangered if limiting factors are not reversed.

Special Concern - any native species with characteristics that make it sensitive to human activities or natural events.

There are 176 animals and plants at risk in Ontario (10 extirpated, 76 endangered, 45 threatened and 45 of special concern).

Ontario protects species which are "threatened with extinction" under the ESA. The act prohibits the willful destruction or interference with a regulated endangered species or its habitat. People convicted of an offence could be fined up to $50,000 or go to jail for up to two years or both. There are currently 43 species listed in regulation and protected by the ESA.

Species at Risk Legislative Review

The Ontario government is reviewing and updating the province’s species at risk legislation, including the Endangered Species Act, to provide for broader protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats. The public is invited to participate in this review by commenting on legislative proposals developed by the ministry. A discussion paper and questionnaire are available at The deadline for comments is July 7, 2006.

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