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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Saskatchewan strives to maintain a healthy environment for the thousands of native wild species that live in the province. Despite many programs focused on maintaining and enhancing wildlife populations, some species have been threatened with extinction and require special attention to help ensure their survival.

The mission of the Saskatchewan species at risk program is to protect species from extirpation or extinction, and to prevent additional species and ecosystems from becoming threatened with extinction. The focus of this program is directed at the needs of provincially threatened and endangered species, and is integrated with Canada's species at risk program.

Within the Ministry of Environment, the Fish and Wildlife Branch is legislated to address species at risk in Saskatchewan. This is done under the direction of The Wildlife Act, 1998 which includes provisions to designate and protect species at risk in Saskatchewan. There are currently 15 at-risk plants and animals identified in the Act.

Table 1: Wild Species at Risk listed under The Wildlife Act, 1998

Extirpated Species 


Black-footed Ferret

Mustela nigripes

Grizzly Bear

Ursus arctos horribilius 

Greater Prairie Chicken

Tympanuchus cupido 

Eskimo Curlew

Numenius borealis 

Small White Lady's-slipper 

Cypripedium candidum 

Endangered Species


Burrowing Owl

Athene cunicularia

Piping Plover

Charadrius melodus  

Sage Grouse

Centrocercus urophasianus  

Whooping Crane

Grus americana

Swift Fox 

Vulpes velox 

Sand Verbena 

Abronia micrantha 

Western Spiderwort

Tradescantia occidentalis 

Tiny Cryptanthe 

Cryptantha minima 

Hairy Prairie-clover

Dalea villosa  

Threatened Species 


Slender Mouse-ear-cress 

Halimolobos virgata 

Wildlife in Saskatchewan, including all species at risk, are protected from being disturbed, collected, harvested, captured, killed, sold or exported without a permit. In addition, the den, house, nest, dam, or usual place of habitation of wildlife and wild species at risk is also protected from disturbance and destruction. Habitat protection has additional benefits for the province's flora and fauna, and helps to maintain a healthy environment for all of Saskatchewan's wildlife.


Under The Wildlife Act, 1998 any native wild species can be designated as extirpated, endangered, threatened, or vulnerable if it is believed to be at risk. These categories are similar to those used by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada to assess a species' risk of extirpation or extinction.

Table 2: At-risk categories and definitions of Saskatchewan's Wild Species at Risk

Category  Definition 
Extirpated  no longer exists in the wild in Saskatchewan, but exists in the wild outside of Saskatchewan 
Endangered  threatened with imminent extirpation or extinction 
Threatened  likely to become endangered if the factors leading to its endangerment are not reversed 
Vulnerable  of special concern because of low or declining numbers due to human activities or natural events but that is not endangered or threatened 

The conservation status rank applied by the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre (CDC) is used to select and prioritize candidate species for listing under The Wildlife Act, 1998. The CDC maintains a centralized database used to store scientific information on the status, location and ecology of Saskatchewan species and plant communities, with a focus on those deemed to be at risk. The database is housed in the Ministry of Environment's Fish and Wildlife Branch. In addition to determining conservation status ranks, this database is also used to assist in development and conservation planning, and to support species recovery, biological research and direct monitoring for species at risk.

If you have information that you'd like to report on any rare or wild species at risk in Saskatchewan, please visit the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre web site, found at:

Related Links

Access to information and documents relating to the federal Species at Risk Act.

COSEWIC is a committee of experts that assesses and designates wild species in Canada that are threatened with extinction or extirpation.

The Conservation Data Centre is a partnership between the Province of Saskatchewan and Nature Saskatchewan and manages information related to species at risk in Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan's own naturalist society, including information on education and stewardship programs for private landowners with rare species on their lands.

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