Trumpeter swans have been removed from Alberta’s at-risk species list, say officials.
The birds, which biologists say are on their way to recovery, are still identified as a “species of special concern” – meaning that while they are not immediately in danger of disappearing, they are still classified as vulnerable in the province.
“This success is a testament to the hard work, careful planning and commitment of Albertans to preserve our province’s biodiversity,” said Robin Campbell, Alberta’s minister of environment and sustainable resource development, in a statement on Wednesday.
Many of the swans make their home near Grande Prairie, where they are an important part of local culture, history and ecosystems, said county reeve Leanne Beaupre.
“We worked closely with other stakeholders in the area to ensure guidelines and land-use plans were followed to protect them and their nesting areas. We are thrilled to have assisted in helping this beautiful species rebound back to a rich and healthy population.”
However, Wednesday’s announcement was not all good news. Four other species – the Athabasca rainbow trout, bull trout, pygmy whitefish and Western grebe – were added to the threatened list due to declining or small populations.
Human disturbance and habitat degradation were identified as key factors behind the declining numbers.
Officials say a recovery plan will be created for each of the listed species to help protect and rebuild their populations – but were quick to add that no drastic measures will be taken.
“I don’t want to put in anything that is Draconian … I want to enhance the fishing in this province,” said Campbell. “I see it as a social activity for families, I see it as part of the culture for this province.”
In total, 16 species have been identified as threatened in Alberta.