Species At Risk

What's at risk in Ontario?

At risk of disappearing from Ontario

Ontario is home to about 30,000 native plant and animal species. Across the province is a stunning array of wildlife from peregrine falcons and beluga whales, to tiny pugnose shiners and wild hyacinth. Today, however, more than 200 of Ontario's wild species are at risk of disappearing, including these ones mentioned above.

How do species become at risk?

There are a number of reasons why species become at risk, including habitat loss, pollution and resource management activities, as well as the spread of invasive species and disease. The good news is that Ontarians can work together to protect and recover many of these species.

Who decides when a species is at risk?

When there is concern a species may be at risk, an independent committee of experts reviews the species to assess the situation. If the committee classifies a species as "at risk," the Ministry of Natural Resources must respond by adding it to the Species at Risk in Ontario List right away.

For more information on this review process, please visit the section How species are deemed at risk.

Fish and Mussels
Plants and Lichens
Snakes and Lizards
Species at risk will fall into one of four categories, depending on the degree of risk:
No longer lives anywhere in the world
Lives somewhere in the world, and at one time lived in the wild in Ontario, but no longer lives in the wild in Ontario
Lives in the wild in Ontario but is facing imminent extinction or extirpation
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
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

Learn how species are listed as "at risk"

How we can help species at risk

Hidden gems of Ontario


Bluehearts (Status: Endangered)
Found in wet meadow communities between sand dunes along shorelines, Bluehearts is threatened by habitat loss and degradation, recreational activities such as ATV riding and cycling, picking, and cottage and road development. Woody plants and the European Common Reed also threaten to crowd it out.
Read the fact sheet

What's at risk in my area?

Use our map to learn which species at risk exist in your region.
View the map

Get involved

Getting involved

Many Ontarians want to know what they can do to help protect species at risk. Learn how to make a difference.
Learn more
What you can do


Blanding turtle

Endangered Species Act

Learn the basics


Permits and other authorizations

The Endangered Species Act offers flexibility tools that try to balance species protection and human activity.

Mobile phone

Contact your local ministry office

Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.