Reptile & Amphibian Initiative
No other class of wildlife in Canada faces a greater risk of extinction than reptiles and amphibians. Their eggs and young are being decimated by raccoons and other predators that benefit from human activity. Invasive species are changing the ecosystems they depend on, while fragmented habitat leaves many isolated populations susceptible to inbreeding. On top of that, pollution, roadkill, poaching and climate change all pose significant threats.
According to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), more than 40 amphibian and reptile species are currently threatened or endangered. More than a third of these species need some form of hands-on intervention to survive.
That’s where Wildlife Preservation Canada comes in. Our national reptile and amphibian program develops and promotes best practices for four key conservation techniques: translocation, headstarting, conservation breeding and in-situ interventions.
By figuring out the best approaches — and by disseminating what we discover — we will maximize the impact of groups across the continent that are working to protect these highly threatened species.
Hannah is developing the national reptile and amphibian initiative for Wildlife Preservation Canada. She has worked with experts in the fields of road ecology, physiology and genetics. Hannah has been involved in conservation projects for at-risk reptiles and amphibians in Canada for almost a decade.
- Help reverse the loss of habitat by protecting or restoring wetlands or shoreline and surrounding vegetation on your property.
- Collect the garbage from local wetlands in your community — try getting a group together!
- Watch for turtles and snakes on the roads, especially between May and October. Learn how to safely move them off the road, and do so when you can.
- Many people fear snakes, especially venomous snakes. Encourage more positive attitudes and put the threat posed by massasauga rattlesnakes in perspective.
- Never buy wild-caught amphibians or reptiles.
- Never release pet amphibians or reptiles into the wild or move wild adults or tadpoles from one location to another. This may introduce or spread diseases among native populations.
- Snakes often re-use the same hibernation site every year. Protect existing hibernation sites, and consider building a snake hibernaculum.
- Participate in your provincial Reptile and Amphibian Atlas.
- Don’t disturb young or adults — be respectful and observe from a distance.
- Reduce your water use. For example, turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth, and use a rain barrel to collect water for your garden.
- Choose alternatives to pesticides and toxic products.
- Shop organic.
- Plant native plants in your garden, which need less water and fertilizers.
- Help curb climate change by reducing your use of fossil fuels.
- Contact your local government office and let them know that you support responsible land use planning that protects and connects natural areas and endangered species habitat.
- Report sightings of rare species to your provincial/territorial Conservation Data Centre.
- Support Wildlife Preservation Canada.