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To find out if a species is in danger of disappearing, a detailed assessment of its biological status is conducted. The assessment is done by a committee of experts using an independent, transparent process. Using the best available Indigenous knowledge, community knowledge and scientific knowledge, each species is assigned to a status category that tells us about its level of risk. Categories of species at risk are: Extinct, Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern (click here to find out what these categories mean).

Status in the NWT is determined by the NWT Species at Risk Committee (SARC) using a unique dual assessment process. Status in Canada is determined by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Based on their assessments, these advisory groups make recommendations on the legal listing of species at risk.