Background information

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC)

COSEWIC was established in 1977 to provide Canadians with a single, scientifically sound classification of wildlife species at risk of extinction. In 2003, the Species at Risk Act (SARA) was proclaimed. The purpose of SARA is to protect wildlife species at risk in Canada. Within the Act, COSEWIC was established as an independent body of experts responsible for identifying and assessing species considered to be at risk. Species that have been assessed as at risk by COSEWIC are then eligible to be considered for addition to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk under SARA and may subsequently qualify for legal protection and recovery under the Act.

Please visit the COSEWIC website for more information.

Please visit the Species at Risk Act website for more information on species listed under the Species at Risk Act or for species assessments and profiles.

COSEWIC Status Categories:

  • Extinct (X) - A wildlife species that no longer exists.
  • Extirpated (XT) - A wildlife species that no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but exists elsewhere.
  • Endangered (E) - A wildlife species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
  • Threatened (T) - A wildlife species that is likely to become endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction.
  • Special Concern (SC) - A wildlife species that may become threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.
  • Data Deficient (DD) - A category that applies when the available information is insufficient (a) to resolve a wildlife species’ eligibility for assessment or (b) to permit an assessment of the wildlife species’ risk of extinction.
  • Not At Risk (NAR) - A wildlife species that has been evaluated and found to be not at risk of extinction given the current circumstances.