Fishing in Ontario

Learn About Ontario: Endangered Species

Endangered Species


Ontario is home to polar bears and beluga whales, bald eagles and pelicans. Tiny pugnose minnows and two-metre-long sturgeon swim in our waters. Delicate orchids live in some wetlands, and wild hyacinth bloom in southern forests.


Every one of these species is now endangered – at risk of disappearing from the province forever. In Ontario, more than 200 animals and plants are considered at risk and are protected under the Endangered Species Act.



Polar Bears

Polar Bears are at risk

We're studying the effects of climate change on Ontario's polar bears. Watch video.

Peregrine falcon

Banding Peregrine Falcons

See how we track these rare birds so we can better protect them. Watch video


Why protect endangered species?


We enjoy seeing footage of polar bears frolicking on the ice, or watching a peregrine falcon soar across the sky. But plants and animals are important for more than their beauty and our enjoyment. Nature is a complex system, and losing one species could put many other plants and animals in peril.


What are we doing to protect endangered species?


Ontario’s Endangered Species Act provides some of the strongest protection in North America for endangered plants and animals. Species classed as endangered or threatened are automatically protected from harm and their general habitats from damage or destruction. Once this protection is in place, focus turns to developing longer-term protection and species recovery plans.


Every year, we undertake and support world-leading research to better understand species at risk and carry out projects to restore habitat and educate people about endangered species.  We also educate people about species at risk and what we can all do to help protect them.


We work with individuals, organizations and businesses to ensure their work doesn’t harm species at risk.


What can you do?


There are lots of ways to get involved. For example, you could join a local organization that’s restoring a river bank or cleaning up a wetland. Get informed about species at risk and their protection.