Stanley Park is home to at least 1500 native species of fungi, plants, invertebrates, birds and mammals. These include iconic species like Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons, threatened species such as Barn Swallows, and elusive species such as the American mink and Ensatina, a type of salamander.
Supporting this biodiversity in a park that sees as much human traffic as Stanley Park can be a challenge, but SPES remains hopeful. We need to give the plants, animals, and other organisms space to live, treat them with respect (which includes not feeding them), and provide some species with critical nesting habitat.
You will be able to query the species by categories (taxa, last year observed in the Park, species at risk, etc.). When available, the year a given species was last documented is indicated to help track which species are still present in the Park and which ones require more information.
A younger raccoon scavenging at Lost Lagoon. Photo by Gerry Bates.
One of the biggest issues in Stanley Park is wildlife feeding. When wildlife are fed, they lose their natural fear of humans, which can have negative consequences for them and for us. Not only can animals lose their ability to find food in their environment, but they lose their fear of humans, which may lead to incidents such as the spate of coyote bites in late 2020/early 2021.
Climate change is a big issue for wildlife around the globe, and Stanley Park is no exception. How will amphibians, fish, and stream invertebrates, and the many more organisms found in the Park respond to longer, hotter summers? Will the forest that many species depend on be able to cope with changing climatic conditions? We believe that continued monitoring will enable us to determine which Park species are responding negatively to climate change, and enable us to make informed species’ management decisions for the future.
Beavers returned to Stanley Park in 2008, after an absence of more than 60 years. They are known as ecosystem engineers because of the way they cut down trees and cause flooding, which impacts the entire ecosystem. These activities in a park setting may conflict with people – a beaver dam floods a walking trail, for example. So we have figured out ways to coexist and compromise with the beavers. Protecting larger trees from beaver gnawing is one solution.
We have a very high density of eagles nesting in Stanley Park, with five active nests in the 2020 breeding season yielding six eaglets (baby eagles). There are more nests than we would expect given Stanley Park’s size. We consider these nesting eagles a success because not only are they forming couples, but they are successfully raising their young in Stanley Park.
We saw more bats than ever before in our 2019 survey, counting 547 bats emerging from their roost in the Dining Pavilion building. Across the continent bat populations are declining, so our findings in Stanley Park provide hope that bats can survive and thrive in this environment. A total of six species have been observed in the Park since 2009. We have noticed that we stop seeing them after June; it likely gets too hot in the attic of the Dining Pavilion building. Twelve new bat boxes erected by SPES in the Park may provide alternate roosting habitat for the bats.
Many people do not know this, but in Stanley Park we have one of the largest Barn Swallow nesting colonies in British Columbia, with around 50 active nests every year (Hearne, 2015). We also put up nesting boxes for their cousins, the Tree Swallow. Barn Swallow populations have declined significantly over the past 40 years, and they are blue-listed in B.C. (of special concern) and considered Threatened in Canada. As insect-eaters, Barn Swallow populations decline when insect populations decline, making them good environmental indicators. So their continued presence in the Park is a good sign.
We need volunteers for wildlife surveys, such as:
- Eagle nest surveys
- Beaver monitoring
- Bat monitoring
- Monthly bird counts
- Nocturnal owl surveys
- Salmonberry quantification
- Listening for frogs
- Identifying and counting stream invertebrates
Gathering information about the wildlife of the Park would not be possible without generous support from our donors. Donate to make a positive difference for wildlife in Stanley Park!