This is a photo of the American Badger.

The American Badger is a short, sturdy member of the weasel family. It is found primarily in southwestern Ontario, but may also be found in the northwestern part of the province in the Thunder Bay and Rainy River areas. Habitat loss and degradation of grasslands in Ontario are two of the greatest threats to the American Badger.

Protecting and recovering species at risk in Ontario

Species at risk recovery is a key part of protecting Ontario’s biodiversity. Biodiversity – the variety of living organisms on Earth – provides us with clean air and water, food, fibre, medicine and other resources that we need to survive.

The Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) is the Government of Ontario’s legislative commitment to protecting and recovering species at risk and their habitats. As soon as a species is listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened under the ESA, it is automatically protected from harm or harassment. Also, immediately upon listing, the habitats of endangered and threatened species are protected from damage or destruction.

Under the ESA, the Ministry of Natural Resources (the Ministry) must ensure that a recovery strategy is prepared for each species that is listed as endangered or threatened. A recovery strategy provides science-based advice to government on what is required to achieve recovery of a species.

Government response statements

Within nine months after a recovery strategy is prepared, the ESA requires the Ministry to publish a statement summarizing the government’s intended actions and priorities in response to the recovery strategy. The recovery strategy for American Badger was completed on February 18, 2010.

The response statement is the government’s policy response to the scientific advice provided in the recovery strategy. In addition to the strategy, the response statement is based on input from stakeholders, other jurisdictions, Aboriginal communities and members of the public. It reflects the best available traditional, local and scientific knowledge at this time and may be adapted if new information becomes available. In implementing the actions in the response statement, the ESA allows the Ministry to determine what is feasible, taking into account social and economic factors.

Moving forward to protect and recover American Badger

The American Badger is listed as an endangered species under the ESA which protects both the animal and its habitat. The Government of Ontario has demonstrated its commitment to protecting the American Badger by prescribing its specific habitat in regulation. The ESA prohibits any damage or destruction of that habitat without authorization. Such authorization would require that conditions established by the Ministry of Natural Resources be met.

The government’s goal for the recovery of the American Badger is to achieve a reproductively sustainable and secure population throughout its current range in Ontario.

Protecting and recovering species at risk is a shared responsibility. No single agency or organization has the knowledge, authority, or financial resources to protect and recover all of Ontario’s species at risk. Successful recovery requires inter-governmental co-operation and the involvement of many individuals, organizations and communities.

In developing the government response statement, the Ministry considered what actions are feasible for the government to lead directly, and what actions are feasible for the government to support its conservation partners to undertake.

Government-led actions

To help protect and recover the American Badger, the government will directly undertake the following actions:

  • Educate other agencies and planning authorities on the requirement to consider the protection of the American Badger and its habitat in planning activities and environmental assessment processes.
  • Encourage the submission of American Badger data to the Ministry of Natural Resources' central repository at the Natural Heritage Information Centre.
  • Undertake communications and outreach to increase public awareness of species at risk in Ontario.
  • Protect the American Badger through the ESA and enforce the regulation protecting the specific habitat of the species.
  • Support conservation, agency, municipal and industry partners to undertake activities to protect and recover the American Badger. Support will be provided through funding, agreements, permits (including conditions) and advisory services.
  • Establish and communicate annual priority actions for government support in order to encourage collaboration and reduce duplication of efforts.

Government-supported actions

The government endorses the following actions as being necessary for the protection and recovery of the American Badger. Actions which are noted as "high" will be given priority consideration for funding or for authorizations under the ESA. The government will focus its support on these high priority actions over the next five years.

Focus area: Research and monitoring

Objective:

Address knowledge gaps on American Badger ecology, distribution, population dynamics and habitat use in the species' Ontario range.

Actions:

  1. (High) Determine the species' habitat use and movement through radio-telemetry studies and an assessment of habitat availability.
  2. (High) Investigate the diet of American Badgers and the ecology of their prey species.
  3. (High) Develop and implement monitoring and reporting protocols to improve understanding of American Badger distribution and This may include collecting and analyzing road killed and trapped specimens as well as scat and hair samples.
  4. Investigate the connectivity and genetic similarities between populations of American Badger to improve knowledge on barriers to movement and gene flow.

Focus area: Threat management

Objective:

Identify and reduce or eliminate known human-related threats to American Badgers in Ontario.

Actions:

  1. (High) Develop and implement, where feasible, options to reduce road mortality and incidental trapping.
  2. Investigate the cause of death for all samples found.
  3. Develop and implement protocols for dealing with injured animals and for public reporting on injured or orphaned American Maintain working relationships with wildlife rehabilitation centres within the species range.
  4. As opportunities arise, support the securement of habitat of American Badger through existing land securement and stewardship programs.

Focus area: Awareness

Objective:

Increase public awareness of and appreciation for the American Badger and its ecological role in grassland and agricultural ecosystems.

Actions:

  1. Develop outreach and monitoring materials for distribution to rural communities, farmers, trappers and aggregate sectors and conduct information workshops for stakeholder groups.
  2. Co-operate with recovery initiatives that target grassland ecosystems and species at risk to share information and seek opportunities to build on existing activities.
  3. Maintain a badger hotline for the reporting of sightings by the public.

Implementing actions

Financial support for the implementation of actions may be available through the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program, or Community Fisheries and Wildlife Involvement Program. Conservation partners are encouraged to discuss project proposals related to the actions in this response statement with the Ministry of Natural Resources. The Ministry can also advise whether any authorizations under the ESA or other legislation may be required for undertaking the project.

Implementation of the actions may be subject to changing priorities across the multitude of species at risk, available resources and the capacity of partners to undertake recovery activities. Where appropriate, the implementation of actions for multiple species will be co-ordinated across government response statements.

Reviewing progress

The ESA requires the Ministry to conduct a review of progress towards protecting and recovering a species not later than five years from the publication of this response statement. The review will help identify whether adjustments are needed to achieve the protection and recovery of the American Badger.

Acknowledgement

We would like to thank everyone who participated in the development of the "Recovery Strategy for the American Badger in Ontario" for their dedication to protecting and recovering species at risk.

For additional information:

Visit the species at risk website at ontario.ca/speciesatrisk
Contact your MNR district office
Contact the Natural Resources Information Centre
Tel: 1-800-667-1940
TTY: 1-866-686-6072
Email: mnr.nric.mnr@ontario.ca
Website: ontario.ca/mnr