Wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft and nature organizations launch legal action for Nova Scotia’s species at risk

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Update Jan 29, 2019: Nova Scotia naturalists take province to court in attempt to enforce Endangered Species Act
Alexander Quon, Global News “It’s not trying to change policies; it’s trying to get them to actually enact the words that they have in their own legal system and are ignoring.” “Normally, naturalists are a quiet bunch that like to admire nature. In this particular case, they’ve seen too much,” – Bob Bancroft

Update Jan 28, 2019: GoFundMe Campaign: Legal action – Nova Scotia Species at Risk Act  “ “For anyone wishing to contribute by cheque toward the Species at Risk lawsuit launched against the Government of Nova Scotia by Bob Bancroft and others, the mailing address is Blomidon Naturalists Society, c/o Ed Sulis, 107 Canaan Ave.,Kentville, NS B4N 2A7. Please make cheques payable to the Blomidon Naturalists Society.”

Update Jan 25, 2019: The Blomidon Field Naturalists, and NatureNS were cited in the Press Release below, but the third participating naturalist society was not identified. I have learned that “After intense deliberation, the board of the Halifax Field Naturalists has decided to support the lawsuit by becoming co-litigants, as has the Blomidon Naturalists Society.”


Posted on Healthy Forest Coalition Facebook page Jan 24, 2019:

Wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft and nature organizations launch legal action for Nova Scotia’s species at risk

Mr. Bob Bancroft and three of Nova Scotia’s naturalists’ societies say it is time to ask the courts to intervene on behalf of Nova Scotia’s most at-risk wildlife and plants.

“The Department of Lands and Forestry has mandatory legal obligations under the Endangered Species Act that have not been fulfilled,” explains retired Acadia University biology professor Dr. Soren Bondrup-Nielsen, president of Blomidon Naturalists Society, one of the parties to the legal proceedings. “We’re simply asking the Court to tell our government to do what it is already required to do by law.”

In court documents filed today, the applicants allege that the Department of Lands and Forestry (formerly the Department of Natural Resources) has failed to meet its legal obligations with respect to 34 species, including mainland moose, wood turtle, bank swallow, and a host of other species designated at risk in Nova Scotia.

“The Department has not yet identified core habitat for our mainland moose, a requirement that is now over-due by more than a decade,” says wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft, president of the Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists (also known as Nature Nova Scotia).

The legal documents allege that the Department of Lands and Forestry has not yet identified a single acre of core habitat of threatened and endangered species, despite the legal requirement to do so under the Endangered Species Act.

Other short-comings noted in the documents include failures to appoint recovery teams and create recovery plans within the time-frames required under the Act.

“This is a rule of law case,” notes Jamie Simpson, lawyer for the applicants. “The Act requires the Minister of Lands and Forestry to do certain things towards the recovery of species at risk in Nova Scotia. We are asking the Court to uphold the rule of law and require the Department to abide by the Act.”

The Department’s short-comings with respect to species at risk has been reported several times. In 2015, the East Coast Environmental Law Association published a report calling on the Department to address the alleged violations of the Species at Risk Act. In 2016, the Office of the Auditor General of Nova Scotia published a review of the Department’s track-record on species at risk, noting the alleged failure to fulfill mandatory requirements under the Act.



Nova Scotia Auditor General’s Report 2016
View pages 47 ff: 3. Species at Risk: Management of Conservation and Recovery.

Species at Risk Overview NS Endangered Species Act: Legally Listed Species
On NSDNR/L&F website. View also: Legislation

Protected on Paper Only: Evaluation of Nova Scotia’s legal obligations to protect and recover mainland moose and other species-at-risk
Jamie Simpson, Steven Evans, & Lisa Mitchell
East Coast Environmental Law Association AND
Environmental Law Students’ Society
February 2015

East Coast Environmental Law
“ECELAW envisions a future where innovative and effective environmental laws and the fair application of those laws provide Atlantic Canadians with a clean, healthy environment, which will make a positive contribution to the quality of life of its present and future inhabitants and visitors.”

Juniper Law and Consulting
“Juniper Law is the general & environmental law practice of Jamie Simpson.”

Nature Nova Scotia
Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists “Nature Nova Scotia is a federation of the natural history clubs in Nova Scotia.
These are the current (2016) members:
-Blomidon Naturalists Society
-Halifax Field Naturalists
-Nova Scotia Bird Society
-Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society
-Friends of the Pugwash Estuary
-Cape Breton Naturalists Society
-Young Naturalists Club of Nova Scotia

Blomidon Naturalists Society
“The Blomidon Naturalists Society is a field naturalists club centered around the eastern Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. Members live mostly in Kings County, West Hants, and Eastern Annapolis Counties. We began in 1974 and at present have about 250 family and single members. All of our activities are open to the public.”

Halifax Field Naturalists
“Nova Scotia has a surprisingly rich natural history for a small geographical area, but it remains largely outside the scope of common knowledge. The prime purpose of the Halifax Field Naturalists from its inception in 1975 has been to educate ourselves and the public at large in the natural history of Nova Scotia.”

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