Endangered Mammals of Ontario

An American bison in Ontario.
An American bison in Ontario.

As per the assessment by the IUCN Red List of Endangered species, there are 33 endangered mammal species in Ontario. The major threats to these species include habitat loss, illegal hunting, and genetic alteration. Conservation efforts have however been put in place to change the status of these species. The analysis below shows a list of some of the endangered mammalian species of Ontario.

Some Endangered Mammals Of Ontario

American Bison

This mammal is a species of bison also known as the American buffalo that inhabited the grasslands in North America and almost became extinct in the 19th century due to commercial hunting and slaughter and the emergence of bovine diseases introduced by interactions with domestic cattle. As per the 2008 assessment by the IUCN Red List, there were approximately 11,250 wild free-ranging individuals of this species. The resurgence of this species has been possible due to the conservation efforts made by private parks and reserves across Canada and the USA.

Polar Bear

This carnivorous bear is native to the Arctic Circle in the Arctic Ocean, the surrounding seas, and the surrounding lands. The Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) recognizes 19 sub-populations of the polar bear that are consistently declining. There is, however, not enough information and knowledge about the specific population of the polar bears. The major threat to the polar bear is the loss of habitat in the Arctic Circle caused by climate change. Lack of enough knowledge on this species has also made it difficult for conservation and management efforts.

The polar bear is listed by the IUCN Red List as vulnerable. There was an International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears signed in 1973 by five states including Canada. The agreement provided guidance on each state to conduct research on polar bears.

Rock Vole

The rock vole, also known as the yellow-nosed vole, inhabits eastern North America. This species inhabits the rocky slopes of eastern Canada. The rock vole often prefers wet, cool, coniferous, and mixed forests. The primary threat to the rock vole species is the loss of its habitat due to forest destruction. There is, however, no major threat to the rock vole as the IUCN Red List has it as “Least Concern.” Conservation of the rock vole in Ontario is done through protection in national forests, parks, and public lands.

The Need To Conserve

Significant efforts have been made to conserve the endangered mammals of Ontario. However, enhanced public awareness regarding the fate of these animals is the need of the day. The government also needs to diversify and expand the conservation efforts to ensure the continued survival of these endangered animals.

Endangered Mammals of Ontario

RankAnimal NameScientific NameConservation Status (IUCN)
1American bisonBison bisonCritically Endangered
2Virginia opossumDidelphis virgininianaCritically Endangered
3Carolina flying squirrelGlaucomys sabrinusCritically Endangered
4Southern flying squirrelGlaucomys volansCritically Endangered
5Thirteen-lined ground squirrelIctidomys tridecemlineatusCritically Endangered
6Eastern red batLasiurus borealisCritically Endangered
7Hoary batLasurus cinereusCritically Endangered
8Snowshore hareLepus americanusCritically Endangered
9White-tailed jackrabbitLepus townsendiiCritically Endangered
10North American river otterLontra canadensisCritically Endangered
11BobcatLynx rufusCritically Endangered
12WoodchuckMarmota monaxCritically Endangered
13Microtus chrotorrhinusSouthern rock voleCritically Endangered
14Chihuahua voleMicrotus pennsylvanicusCritically Endangered
15Woodland voleMicrotus pinetorumCritically Endangered
16Southern red-backed voleMyodes gapperiCritically Endangered
17Eastern small-footed myotisMyotis leibiiCritically Endangered
18Northern myotisMyotis septentrionalisCritically Endangered
19Woodland jumping mouseNapaeozapus insignisCritically Endangered
20Least chipmunkNeotamias minimusCritically Endangered
21White-tailed deerOdocoileus virginianusCritically Endangered
22White-footed mousePeromyscus leucopusCritically Endangered
23Eastern heather volePhenacomys ungavaCritically Endangered
24Franklin's ground squirrelPoliocitellus frankliniiCritically Endangered
25Eastern moleScalopus aquaticusCritically Endangered
26Smoky shrewSorex feumeusCritically Endangered
27Eastern cottontailSylvilagus floridanusCritically Endangered
28Okanagan bog lemmingSynaptomys borealisCritically Endangered
29Southern bog lemmingSynaptomys cooperiCritically Endangered
30Eastern chipmunkTamis striatusCritically Endangered
31Red squirrelTamiasciurus hudsonicusCritically Endangered
32Polar bearUrsus maritimusCritically Endangered
33Meadow jumping mouseZapus hudsoniusCritically Endangered

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