Species at Risk
What is the status of the Mingan Thistle?
In 1924, Brother Marie-Victorin identified the species
for the first time: “The most spectacular discovery…is without
a doubt that of the Mingan thistle. A scientific novelty, a gigantic discovery,
sparsely distributed, with a distinct stature and a kinship with a distant
The Mingan thistle is a threatened
(as defined by the Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species). Moreover,
it is a high priority candidate on the list of the COSEWIC.
The most recent demographic projections confirm the Mingan thistle’s
precarious status in the MANPRC. A report of the state of the species in Canada
is in preparation to allow the COSEWIC to update its data. At the MANPRC,
the species has been carefully monitored on an annual basis since 1995.
Why the Mingan Thistle is in danger?
In the park, the Mingan thistle grows mainly in the littoral zones of the
islands. An easy access to this habitat and environmental disturbances (storms,
sandbanks, etc.) are some of the factors that threaten the species’
Mingan thistle. ©
Parks Canada / MANPRC Conservation Service- 2004 (Marie-Ève Gauthier)
At the MANPRC, there are only some 800 Mingan thistles to be found on average.
Though the total number of plants seems relatively stable these last few years,
analysis of the data shows that colonies have an insufficient growth rate,
leading to a declining trend in the long term. For that reason, all the park’s
colonies are considered vulnerable. This is due to the small size of the colonies
(only one colony of over 200 plants and three colonies of less than 25 plants),
the low growth rate, poor flowering (between 2 and 23 flowering plants each
summer), and significant variations in the survival rates of different plant
sizes. Re-establishment efforts are therefore justified.