VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – The Canadian government is dropping the ball on saving killer whales by failing to protect its critical habitat, environmental groups claim in Federal Court. The David Suzuki Foundation claims Canada’s environmental agency simply identified the critical habitat of the whales and did nothing to address pollution levels and noise from boats.
The suit says Canada incorrectly limited the scope of the Species at Risk Act by agreeing to protect only “geophysical parts or elements of the critical habitat of a species, and not to legally protect the other elements of critical habitat,” such as “biological, chemical and other elements that are necessary for the survival and recovery of an endangered or threatened species.”
The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of the Environment adopted a recovery strategy for killer whales in March 2008, and while it identifies the animal’s critical habitat, it allegedly ignores the dangers of contamination levels, acoustic levels and the availability of food in the environment.
The plaintiffs include the Dogwood Initiative, Environmental Defence Canada, Greenpeace Canada, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Raincoast Conservation Society, the Sierra Club of Canada and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee. They are represented by Lara Tessaro.