Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada

Species at Risk - Fish and Mammals

Fish

American Eel

American Eel
© Parks Canada / Denis Doucet

The life of every American Eel begins in the Sargasso Sea. Soon after, the tiny eel larvae drift for months on the currents of the Gulf Stream before finding their way to North America. By the time they reach our shores, they are called glass eels because they are completely transparent.

As they gain coloration and become elvers, these long-term visitors make their homes in freshwater areas, including the ponds and streams that flow through PEI National Park. It is here in Atlantic Canada that they become yellow eels and continue to grow for 4 to 25 years before embarking as silver eels on the long trip back to the Sargasso Sea where they spawn and die.

Unfortunately, there is reason to believe that this incredible lifetime journey of the American Eel may be disrupted by a number of factors, such as habitat loss, dams, overfishing, disease and even global warming.

The American Eel is found in seven national parks in Atlantic Canada. While significant declines in the eel populations have not been observed here, there is no time to lose.

Related Links:

  • The American Eel on the Parks Canada website
  • American Eel website: Interesting facts about the American Eel, photos, videos, articles, and more; Information on the cultural significance of this species to Aboriginal communities; Tools, lesson plans, and fact sheets for teachers and students; Insight into research going on throughout Atlantic Canada and how to get involved.

Mammals

Little Brown Bat and Northern Long-Eared Bat

In many ways, bats are typical mammals: they are warm-blooded, give birth to live young and suckle them. Their ability to fly sets them apart from all other mammals.

The Little Brown Bat and the Northern Long-Eared Bat occur in Prince Edward Island National Park. However, their current population status is unknown.

Sometimes a sudden and severe threat can emerge and produce drastic declines such that a species’ very existence in Canada is threatened. In 2011, the government of Nova Scotia requested an emergency assessment of three bat species (including the Little Brown Bat and the Northern Long-Eared Bat) because of the discovery of White Nose Syndrome, a deadly fungal disease that spreads rapidly in bat colonies that overwinter in caves. The disease has been found in numerous provinces with populations in eastern Canada showing declines of more than 90% in just two years.