Protecting species

Waterton Lakes National Park

Explore this section to learn how Parks Canada protects and recovers species at risk found within Waterton Lakes National Park.

What is a species at risk?

A species at risk is one that requires special considerations for its conservation.

Some species have suffered significant declines in their numbers or distribution and are on the path toward local and, perhaps, global extinction. These species require immediate help while others need attention to ensure they don't start down this path.

Why worry about species at risk?

Protecting the full range of life on earth sustains the health and beauty of our planet. A rich diversity of species is reflective of a healthy and functioning ecosystem.

How are species at risk protected in national parks?

Through the Canada National Parks Act, all plants, animals and natural objects in national parks are protected.

Parks Canada gives special attention to species listed in the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and to those that have been assessed as being of conservation concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

Action planning for species at risk

Park-specific action plans are being prepared for various national parks and national historic sites across Canada.

Species at Risk Act rankings
  • Extinct: Gone forever
  • Extirpated: Locally, regionally or nationally extinct, but exists elsewhere in the wild
  • Endangered: Facing imminent extirpation or extinction if nothing is done to reverse the threats
  • Threatened: Likely to become endangered if nothing is done to reverse the threats
  • Special concern: Sensitive to human activities or natural events, but not an endangered or threatened species

The plans work toward recovery strategy goals for species found on Parks Canada lands and waters that are listed as endangered or threatened under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.

The goal of these action plans is to identify, coordinate and prioritize site-specific actions to support species at risk recovery and management in the parks.

Multi-species Action Plan

See the final Multi-Species Action Plan for Waterton Lakes National Park and Bar U Ranch National Historic Site.

SARA Schedule 1: Endangered and Threatened species included in the Multi-species Action Plan for Waterton Lakes National Park and Bar U Ranch National Historic Site



  • Bolander’s quillwort
  • Common nighthawk
  • Olive-sided flycatcher
  • Lewis’s woodpecker
  • Westslope cutthroat trout - Alberta population
Other species at risk considered in park / site management


  • Limber pine*


  • Bull trout*
  • Plains bison*
  • Western bumblebee - occidentalis subspecies*

Special concern

  • Grizzly bear - western population*
  • Northern leopard frog - western boreal/prairie population
  • Long-toed salamander (Alberta designation only)

*COSEWIC listed; not yet included on SARA.

Species at risk in other Mountain National Parks

More information

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