Ecojustice Blog – Nature Posted on March 21, 2013 (updated: February 17, 2015)

Saving Canada’s sage-grouse

Sean NixonLawyer

We’re taking Environment Minister Peter Kent to court in a last-ditch effort to stop the Greater sage-grouse — known for its spectacular mating dance — from becoming extinct in Canada.

Ecojustice, on behalf Alberta Wilderness Association, Wilderness Committee, Nature Saskatchewan and Grassland Naturalists, has filed an application with the Federal Court, seeking a court order to force the Minister to issue recommendations for emergency protection of the iconic Prairie bird.

The sage-grouse, which was once found in sage-brush grasslands across the country, is now only found in parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, where it receives little protection from the provincial governments.

Listed as an ‘endangered’ species under the Species at Risk Act, the sage-grouse is in danger of becoming extinct in Canada within the next 10 years. Alberta’s population — estimated at around 30 birds — could be wiped out as early as next year.

Recent scientific research suggests that rapid encroachment of oil, gas and other development on the areas where sage-grouse spend the winter, breed, nest and raise their young is the leading factor in their extreme population drop. Nearly 90 per cent of Canada’s sage-grouse population died off between 1988 and 2006.

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