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Species at Risk

A marked decline in species has occurred globally in recent years due to human activity, including climate change and habitat disturbance. Northern regions in particular are vulnerable to losing species due to human activity because of the magnified effects of climate change on colder landscapes (*link to climate change page).

In an attempt to minimize loss of species, the Government of Canada created the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Under this act, every Canadian jurisdiction has agreed to work towards a national approach for protecting species at risk and to the common goal of avoiding the extinction of species due to consequences from human activity.

In the Northwest Territories, the responsibility of species at risk management falls to the federal government, the Government of the Northwest Territories, Tlicho governments and co-management boards. In order to meet the goals set out above, the GNWT created the NWT Species at Risk Act (*link). Once a species is listed under the NWT Species at Risk Act a plan must be created for the management or recovery of the species and actions must be outlined to ensure the success of the plan in cooperation with the other responsible parties. Under SARA, some regulations are automatically enforced after the species is listed and before the territorial management planning process. (*for more information click link)


  • 2002: The Federal Government enacts SARA with the goal of protecting wildlife species and their habitats in order to prevent extinction or extirpation, provide support to those who are extirpated, endangered, or threatened as the result of human activity, and manage species of special concern so that the situation does not worsen
  • 2009: The GNWT enacts the NWT Species at Risk Act which is designed to work with other legislation and indigenous people to protect species at risk and their habitat