The Rouge Park is like a "Noah's Ark" of habitat for approximately 100 regionally rare species and more than a dozen species of national concern.
Nationally rare, endangered and vulnerable species are listed by the committee on the status of endangered wildlife in Canada, COSEWIC. Many rare species have been recorded in the Rouge Park including:
By enlarging existing core forests and Nature Reserves (ESAs), FRW is increasing habitat for deep forest species such as red-shouldered hawk, oven bird, scarlett tanager and American ginseng.
By planting wildflowers and meadow areas, FRW is creating habitat for northern bobwhite, eastern meadowlark, grasshopper sparrow and Monarch butterfly. Since agricultural pesticides will no longer be used on these meadow lands, these species have a better chance to thrive and reproduce.
By creating log piles, tall snags with nesting holes and meadows with abundant insect life, FRW is increasing habitat for red-headed wood peckers.
By planting meadows with scatttered native hawthorns and shrubs and improving habitat for gasshoppers, frogs, small snakes and mammals, FRW is increasing habitat for the eastern loggerhead shrike. Go to www.shrike.ca for more information on this species.
The amazing migration of the Monarch butterfly from Canada to the mountains of Mexico was charted by University of Toronto professor Fred Urqhart (now deceased) and his wife. Unfortunately, the Monarch's over-wintering habitat in Mexico has been cut in half by outlaw logging; modern pesticides have reduced the Monarch's larval host plant - milkweed; and a freakish winter storm in January 2002 (climate change?) wiped out 500 million Monarchs in Mexico.
Monarch populations were very low in the Rouge in the summer of 2003 and few larva were found on local milkweed plants. To help provide local habitat for Monarch butterflies, FRW collects more than 10 kg of milkweed seed each year for planting on Rouge restoration sites.
FRW has also successfully planted and collected seed from rare species such as blue lupine. The blue lupine is the host plant for the Karner blue butterfly, which was extirpated from Ontario a few years ago and is now an endangered species in the United States.
FRW plants a number of rare species including:
Signs of Recovery
Feed-back from Biologists
“There is no doubt that your restoration programme has increased suitable habitat, linked source populations, increased species abundance .... and breeding habitat for amphibians and reptiles ....”
“FRW restoration efforts are significantly expanding and enhancing habitat opportunities for many local butterflies, moths and insects, including regionally rare species .....”