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Endangered salamanders and skinks are sexy too

The Story


The northern prairie skink, a small brown lizard, is one of many seemingly insignificant species that is endangered. Early conservation efforts in Canada brought the wood bison, whooping crane and peregrine falcon back from the brink of extinction, but it's not just these "sexy" species that need our attention. CBC's Barbara Frum talks with Monte Hummel, president of the World Wildlife Fund Canada, about the importance of protecting whole ecosystems, not just the species at the top of the food chain. Hummel explains that the small, obscure organisms at the bottom of the food chain are the building blocks of an ecosystem, without which whole systems may be lost. Habitat destruction is the leading cause of species endangerment, and Canada is falling behind in habitat protection. The list of endangered species published lacks federal clout; protection depends instead on inconsistent and often non-existent provincial legislation. 

Medium: Television
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: June 23, 1989
Guest: Monte Hummel
Host: Barbara Frum, Noelle Richardson
Duration: 6:32

Did You know?


• The eelgrass limpet, dwarf wedgemussel and Puget Oregonian snail are all mollusc species that are no longer found in Canada. The mudpuppy mussel, wavy-rayed lampmussel and dromedary jumping-slug are among the endangered molluscs that can still be saved.

• Other less-than-sexy endangered species in Canada include the Lake Erie watersnake, northern leopard frog, seaside centipede lichen and, of course, the northern prairie skink.


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