Background information

Species at Risk Act (SARA)

The Species at Risk Act (SARA) is part of the Government of Canada’s strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. SARA’s purpose is to prevent species in Canada from becoming extinct as a consequence of human activity. Its provisions apply to Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern species on its List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Once a species is listed, the government implements measures for its management, protection, and recovery, as warranted.

SARA categories in the status column:

  • Extirpated* - A wildlife species that no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but exists elsewhere.
  • Endangered* - A wildlife species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
  • Threatened* - 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* - A wildlife species that may become Threatened or Endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.
  • Eligible for Listing - The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assesses the status of species. COSEWIC submits the assessments of species it finds to be at risk to the government. The species are then eligible for listing under SARA. The Minister of the Environment considers the assessment prior to making a recommendation to Cabinet. Cabinet then decides whether or not the species should be added to the List.

*On SARA Schedule 1

Please consult the SARA Registry for more information about SARA and particular species listings.