Obscure and unloved: Federal government spurns a chance to help boost three endangered species

August  6, 2012

The Wild Side, Part 1

As the human footprint expands across Canada, so does the threat to the country’s wildlife. There are now 650 species officially listed as endangered, threatened, of special concern, or no longer found in the wild in Canada. Government and environmentalists have often tussled over conservation efforts.  Postmedia News science writer Margaret Munro  looks at some vulnerable species across the country, beginning with those that are most unloved.

Part 1

Senior Staff Scientist at Ecojustice, Susan Pinkus is pictured at Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC (BEN NELMS for Postmedia News)

VANCOUVER – In a good year, the tangle of leaves and stems on southern Vancouver Island can grow up to six metres long. It’s been sprouting out of the ground every spring for decades.

The plant, a Coast Manroot that grows from huge, human-sized underground tubers, is one of Canada’s most endangered species. It’s also one of the most obscure and unloved.

Maintenance crews and mowers have been whacking away at the plant near Victoria – one of the 18 known manroots still alive in Canada – and grazing animals have trampled and killed several others. Continue reading