Fauna – Page 3
Canada has multiple ecosystems, ranging from lush forests of British Columbia, the prairies of Western Canada, to the tundra of the Northern Canada. With a large land mass, and small population density, the wildlands of Canada provide important habitat for many animals, both endangered and not. Canada is home to approximately 70.000 known species of plants and animals – and perhaps many more that have yet to be discovered.
More than 400 species are listed as being at risk of extinction in Canada. The regions with the most endangered or threatened species are those in which humans have had the greatest impact on the environment.
The elk or wapiti (Cervus canadensis) is one of the largest species of the Cervidae or deer family in the world, and one of the largest land mammals in North America and eastern Asia. Elk range in forest and forest-edge habitat, feeding on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark. Some cultures revere the elk as a spiritual force. In parts of Asia, antlers and their velvet are used in traditional medicines. Elk are hunted as a game species; the meat is leaner and higher in protein than beef or chicken.
There are numerous subspecies of elk described, with six from North America and four from Asia, although some taxonomists consider them different ecotypes or races of the same species (adapted to local environments through minor changes in appearance and behavior). Populations vary as to antler shape and size, body size, coloration and mating behavior.
The Bronze is a breed of domestic turkey. The name refers to its plumage, which bears an iridescent bronze-like sheen. The Bronze had been the most popular turkey throughout most of American history, but waned in popularity beginning in the mid-20th century. Bronze turkeys are the product of crossing domestic turkeys brought from Europe by colonists (which had been exported to Europe years before) with the Wild Turkey. Today, both the Standard and Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys are listed on the ALBC’s conservation priority list.