Many species in Ontario are in trouble. This guide provides information for species at risk which live, at least part of the year, in northern Ontario (from Algonquin Park and the French River northwards). Ontario Nature published the first edition of this guidebook in 2017 to raise awareness of species at risk, and since then, 10 new species have been listed as “at risk” in the northern parts of the province.

The United Nations released their report on the state of biodiversity in 2019 with many distressing statistics. Globally, 47 percent of the world’s natural ecosystems have declined and over 1 million species are at risk of extinction.

The extinction crisis is playing out in Ontario as well. Without meaningful action from governments, industries, and individuals around the province, many species will become less common, impacting ecosystem function and putting them at risk of extinction. Ontario Nature, along with our members and partnering organizations, will continue to advocate for the protection of wild species and wild spaces in Ontario. You can learn more at:

Endangered | Threatened | Special Concern | Extirpated

Read the digital version of the Species At Risk in Northern Ontario.


The species lives in the wild in Ontario but is facing imminent extinction or extirpation.

Endangered species and their habitat are protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007. However, that protection has been significantly weakened since it was enacted.

American Badger taxus subspecies
(Taxidea taxus taxus)
Cougar (Mountain Lion) (Puma concolor)
Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)
Northern Long-eared Bat
(Myotis septentrionalis)
Tri-Colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Loggerhead Shrike migrans subspecies
(Lanius ludovicianus migrans)
Piping Plover circumcinctus subspecies
(Charadrius melodus circumcinctus)
Red Knot rufa subspecies
(Calidris canutus rufa)
American Eel (Anguilla rostrata)
Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens)
Black Ash (Fraxinus nigra)
Western Silvery Aster
(Symphyotrichum sericeum)
White-rimmed Shingle Lichen
(Fuscopannaria leucosticta)
Nine-spotted Lady Beetle
(Coccinella novemnotata)
Pygmy Snaketail (Ophiogomphus howei)


The species lives in the wild in Ontario, is not endangered, but is likely to become endangered if steps are not taken to address factors threatening it.

Threatened species and their habitat are protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007. However, that protection has been significantly weakened since it was enacted.

Algonquin Wolf (Canis spp.)
Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)
Wolverine (Gulo gulo)
Woodland Caribou Boreal Population
(Rangifer tarandus caribou)
American White Pelican
(Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)
Chimney Swift(Chaetura pelagica)
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)
Eastern Whip-poor-will
(Antrostomus vociferus)
Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica)
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)
Blanding’s Turtle Great Lakes –
St. Lawrence Population (Emydoidea blandingii)
Shortjaw Cisco (Coregonus zenithicus)
Pale Showy Goldenrod
(Solidago pallida)
Pitcher’s Thistle (Cirsium pitcheri)
Small-flowered Lipocarpha
(Cyperus subsquarrosus)
Lake Huron Grasshopper
(Trimerotropis huroniana)

Special Concern

The species lives in the wild in Ontario, is not endangered or threatened, but may become threatened or endangered due to a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.

Special Concern species and their habitats do not receive protection under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 or under the Species at Risk Act.

Beluga Western Hudson Bay Population
(Delphinapterus leucas)
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)
Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis)
Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)
Eastern Wood-pewee
(Contopus virens)
Evening Grosbeak
(Coccothraustes vespertinus)
Golden-winged Warbler
(Vermivora chrysoptera)
Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)
Olive-sided Flycatcher
(Contopus cooperi)
Peregrine Falcon
(Falco peregrinus anatum/tundrius)
Red-necked Phalarope
(Phalarope lobatus)
Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina)
Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis)
Eastern Milksnake
(Lampropeltis triangulum)
Northern Map Turtle
(Graptemys geographica)
Snapping Turtle
(Chelydra serpentina)
Deepwater Sculpin
Great Lakes – Western St. Lawrence Populations
(Myoxocephalus thompsonii)
Kiyi Upper Great Lakes Population
(Coregonus kiyi kiyi)
Northern Brook Lamprey
(Ichthyomyzon fossor)
Silver Lamprey (Ichthyomyzon unicuspis)
Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
Yellow-banded Bumble Bee
(Bombus terricola)


The species lives somewhere in the world and at one time lived in the wild in Ontario, but no longer lives in the wild in Ontario.

While extirpated species are protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007, their habitat is not, unless prescribed by another regulation.

Eskimo Curlew (Numenius borealis)
Greater Prairie-chicken
(Tympanuchus cupido)
Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula)


Original authors: Mallory Vanier, Dr. Julee Boan, Amy Stachejczuk and Dr. Anne Bell

Update author: Jake Guggenheimer

Copyright: First printed in 2017, updated in September 2022 © Ontario Nature

Contributor: Noah Cole

Funding: We are grateful for the support of FedNor and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.

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