A plant or animal is considered a Species at Risk when it is in danger of being either extirpated (disappearing from an area it currently occupies) or becoming extinct. Species can also be considered of “Special Concern” if their populations are threatened, for example by significant loss of habitat. Species within Quetico Provincial Park that are listed as Species at Risk are protected under the Endangered Species Act and Provincial Park policies. The QPP Biologist assesses and monitors these species to develop management strategies that will support their habitat and existence in the Park.
Within Quetico Park there are bird, fish, reptile, and mammal species that are being monitored to help with their recovery or to prevent them from becoming further at risk. Quetico Foundation summer employees have assisted with long-term monitoring of several Species at Risk within Quetico, and their work has contributed to understanding of these species’ populations and determining what management actions need to occur to protect these important species.
Through nighttime acoustic bat surveys Quetico Foundation staff have worked to understand the populations of endangered bat species in Quetico. Non-migrating species of bat within the park are currently facing threats from White Nose Syndrome.
Quetico Park has been monitoring Lake Sturgeon (a Species at Risk) within the Park for many years. During this time Quetico Foundation employees have been involved with the monitoring and analysis of this species’ populations. This summer, Quetico Foundation Assistant Biologists also collected data on the Northern (longear) sunfish to assist the biologist in making the best possible management decisions for this Species of Special Concern.
In recent years, Quetico Foundation summer research crews have placed acoustic SongMeters deep within Quetico Park to monitor forest bird species. The Eastern Whip-poor-will is listed as a threatened species and is known to inhabit Quetico. Long-term forest bird monitoring allows us to collect information on avian Species at Risk that are present within the park.
New this year, Quetico Foundation Assistant Biologists began to monitor snapping turtle populations in the area around Dawson Trail Campgrounds in Quetico PP. Snapping turtles are listed as a Species of Special Concern and there is a national management objective to increase the area of occupancy of snapping turtles and to reduce the main threats to adult snapping turtles. Over time, monitoring of this species will allow the Park Biologist to determine what management actions are required to meet these national objectives.
If you observe a Species at Risk within Quetico Provincial Park, please report your observation to the Park Biologist (firstname.lastname@example.org) to assist with our understanding and monitoring of these species.
By: Jared Walter Stachiw, Quetico Foundation Biology Intern and Quetico Provincial Park Assistant Biologist