by Larry Powell
One of the species at risk, the small white lady's slipper,
Cypripedium candidum. Photo by Mason Brock.
"Our analysis shows that species at risk and pollution sources co-occur at a high rate in Canada. In general, the highest densities (of pollution sources and species-at-risk) are concentrated in the south, where the human population density is also highest. The richness of these creatures overlapped strongly with areas of greatest urbanization and landscape modification, such as Ontario, the Prairies and the Lower Mainland of BC."
|Agricultural refuse is burned on a farm in Manitoba.|
A PinP photo.
Quoting Government of Canada numbers, the study states: "Tens of thousands of chemicals exist in commerce today and the size of the global chemical industry is set to double by 2030. Contaminants such as flame retardants undergo transformations into more toxic breakdown products in the environment that contribute to heightened environmental effects.
"Each year in Canada, some five million tonnes of pollutants are released from seven thousand facilities. These have included about 700 pipeline spills over the past decade in which natural gas, crude oil and other contaminants have escaped into our environment."
Such spills are capable of either killing species immediately, or dealing "sub-lethal" blows which might sap their fitness, reduce their ability to reproduce or even deprive them of their food.
|One of many similar sloughs in southern Manitoba. It's believed the spreading |
of livestock manure on farm fields contributes to the "greening" of
wetlands such as this. A PinP photo.
Jenny McCune - Ast. Prof. Dept. of
University of Lethbridge, AB
The authors of the study, recently published in the journal, Facets, hope this new information will help us better understand just how much endangered wildlife are threatened, and where to go from here.
|The Bakken formation (above) is a major oil deposit straddling |
two provinces and two states. US Geological Survey,
|The iconic Eastern meadowlark (Sturnella magna), a grasslands bird listed by |
COSEWIC as"threatened" in Canada. A PinP photo.