Nova Scotia·sharing our planet

Highlighting Nova Scotia's species at risk

CBC Radio's Information Morning kicks off a special species-at-risk series this week in response to a World Wildlife Fund report that claims 60 per cent of the world's wildlife disappeared between 1970 and 2014.

A series from CBC Radio's Information Morning about the animals and plants we risk losing

Karen Beazley, a professor at Dalhousie University, said she wasn't surprised by the latest report from WWF. (Submitted by Karen Beazley )

This is the first in a series of stories from CBC's Information Morning about species that are struggling to survive in Nova Scotia, and the people who have vowed to save them. 

Nova Scotia's promise to protect 13 per cent of its land falls far short in light of an alarming report by the World Wildlife Fund, says a professor at Dalhousie University. 

The Living Planet Report found that 60 per cent of the world's wildlife disappeared between 1970 and 2014, and the planet is on track to lose more.

Karen Beazley said she's done her own calculations, and believes Nova Scotia needs to protect 67 per cent of its land just to maintain and help restore the species that live here. 

"Really, to make a difference we have to change a lot about our lifestyle, about the way we live on the land, how much we consume," Beazley, a professor at the School for Resource and Environmental Studies, told CBC's Information Morning.

Her interview opens Information Morning's series, Sharing the planet: Nova Scotia's species at risk, which is a response to the WWF's dire report.

This week, the program will highlight species that are on the brink of extinction and what needs to be done to save them. 

In the majority of cases, Nova Scotia's wildlife is suffering due to human activity, said Beazley. This is particularly concerning for species like the mainland moose, Canada lynx, eastern cougar and American marten, which need room to roam.

The mainland moose, the largest land mammal in the province, is facing local extinction. (Department of Natural Resources)

"Animals are being restricted to smaller and smaller patches of habitat and then they have to move from one small patch to another small patch in order to try and get the requirements they need for their life," she said. 

Beazley said humans simply take up too much space.

In fact, people and livestock account for 96 per cent of the mammal biomass on the planet, she said, leaving just four per cent for everything else.

She said it's time to drastically rethink how much we consume. 

"It's hard to be very hopeful but I do hope that as people realize the extent of the decline, that they really decide that it's important to them and take action."

Read more from this series:

With files from CBC Radio's Information Morning Nova Scotia