Species at Risk in Nova Scotia

The term ‘Species at Risk’ refers to any plant, animal or living organism that is at serious risk of extinction.

The Species at Risk designation is determined through both a Provincial and a National assessment process.

Any species listed through the Provincial process, done by the NS Endangered Species Working Group, are then legally protected under the Nova Scotia Endangered Species act (NSESA).

Any species listed through the National process, done by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), are protected under the Federal Species at Risk Act (SARA).

The following is the types of designations assigned to Species at Risk:

  • Endangered: The species is facing imminent extirpation or extinction
  • Threatened: This species is at a high risk of becoming endangered if risk factors are not reversed
  • Vulnerable: This species is of special concern because it is particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events
  • Extirpated: This species no longer exists in the wild or in the Province, but exists in the wild outside the Province
  • Extinct: This species no longer exists

The current list of at-risk reptiles and amphibians in Nova Scotia includes:

  • Blanding’s Turtle: Endangered
  • Eastern Painted Turtle: Special Concern (COSEWIC Status)
  • Eastern Ribbon Snake: Threatened
  • Snapping Turtle: Vulnerable
  • Wood Turtle: Threatened

If you encounter a Species at Risk, do not interact or interfere with the animal or plant. When possible and safe to do so, photograph the organism and make note of the date and location. Please report the sighting to biodiversity@novascotia.ca or to sightings@speciesatrisk.ca.  Remember to include the date, precise location, a photo, and contact information for follow-up.

For more information about Species at Risk visit: