Species at Risk
Grasslands National Park of Canada and the
What is Parks Canada doing to save the Prairie Grasslands?
Creating the Grasslands National Park was an important step towards saving the Prairie Grasslands. The proposed
park boundary would surround 900 square kilometres. Currently, the park encompasses over half of this land base and
will continue to grow as some ranchers sell their land to Parks Canada. To help protect this unique area and its
species, the park is involved in many recovery actions, research and monitoring programs and public education.
A group of endangered Sage Grouse
© Parks Canada / W. Lynch / 1989
The park is home to significant populations of sage grouse, burrowing owls and black-tailed prairie dogs, all of which are species at risk. Park staff monitor these and other species very closely to see if their numbers increase or decrease. Staff also provide guidelines for visitors to ensure their presence in the park does not have a negative impact on the plants and animals they come to see.
The park has participated in reintroduction programs in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. In the early 1990s, the swift fox, which had been extirpated from the park and surrounding area, was reintroduced into the park and region. The success of this program was demonstrated by a winter survey, in 2000, which showed an increase in the swift fox population. With the help of Parks Canada, this species is now beginning to make a comeback on the Prairies. Plains Bison is another species on the list for future reintroduction programs at the park.
Research and Monitoring
Eastern Short-horned lizard
© Parks Canada / W. Lynch / 1980
Research in Grasslands National Park enables park managers and others to make decisions that will help protect species and habitats. The Prairie Rattlesnake and Short-horned Lizard are two examples that have been studied to estimate the population size, habitat use and distribution of each species.
The park's conservation efforts are integrated with the activities of other agencies, non-government organizations and landowners. Grasslands National Park participates on national recovery teams and international working groups. It also contributes resources for reintroduction programs, population censuses and research. Examples of this research include the annual Sage Grouse population monitoring, by park staff and Saskatchewan Environment Resource Management biologists. As well park staff are working with the Swift Fox Society on reintroduction and monitoring of the Swift Fox.
Grasslands National Park provides a variety of on-site programs to help visitors experience and gain appreciation
for the park's amazing plants and animals, seasons, cycles, cultures and stories. Park programs also highlight the
steps Parks Canada is taking to help protect this unique ecosystem. Web sites, pamphlets and brochures are also
available to help educate people about the importance of the Prairie Grasslands.