Scientific Name: Taxidea taxus taxus
Taxonomy Group: Mammals
Range: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2012
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
The American Badger (Taxidea taxus) is a medium-sized fossorial (burrowing) carnivore in the weasel (Mustelidae) family. They are well-adapted to digging, possessing a dorso-ventrally flattened body with a robust pectoral girdle and broad front paws used to excavate burrows and dig out prey. Four subspecies of American Badger are recognized, three of which occur in Canada. Mitochondrial DNA work found multiple distinct genetic groups in Canada. Four designatable units are recommended (Jeffersonii East and West, Taxus, and Jacksoni), each corresponding with the existing subspecies distribution of T. t. taxus and jacksoni, with T. t. jeffersonii divided into two DUs.
In the Prairies, this mammal is subject to furbearer harvest but also unmonitored and unregulated mortality by landowners, and the application of rodenticides. The lack of monitoring of total mortality, the limited amount of habitat in cultivated areas, ongoing threat of roadkill, and the projected use of strychnine leads to concern for the species in a large part of its range.
Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”.
COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2012 to September 2013) from November 25 to November 30, 2012 and from April 28 to May 3, 2013. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 73 wildlife species.
The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following:
Special Concern: 19
Data Deficient: 4
Not at Risk: 1
Of the 73 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 50 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.
The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Endangered or Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection of prohibitions and recovery planning under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 518 wildlife species at risk.
Please submit your comments by
March 23, 2014, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations
October 23, 2014, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations.