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Notice of permit

Regional or Local Number: GRA-2009-2533

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 73 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. GRA-2009-2533 is issued.

Scientific research for the conservation of the species

The objective of this study is to document and model the distribution of the greater short-horned lizard in Grasslands National Park. A secondary objective is to determine the usefulness of scent dogs in reptile monitoring. Lizards identified by dogs and in human searches will be weighed, measured, and sexed. Lizards of suitable size will have a transmitter affixed with glue to its back. Only dogs with no predatory response to lizards will be used for searches. Some lizards will be held in wire cages for up to 1 hour in their natural habitat in order to train the dogs to GSHL scent, without placing the lizards at risk to predation from the dogs. Once safe dogs have been identified, lizards used for training purposes will be approached by the dog briefly, which will result in minor stress. Lizards will be released at their location of capture.

Start Date: 2009-05-27   End Date: 2010-11-15

Issuing Authority: Parks Canada Agency

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • Saskatchewan

Affected Species:

Scent detection dogs are considered a good option for surveying large areas for cryptic species. Greater short-horned lizards need to be used for this study because human and dog ability to detect varies by species. During the searches, lizards will be handled no more than 10-12 minutes. Weighing, measuring, and sexing the lizards is necessary to determine if different classes of lizards occupy different habitats, or move differently through their habitat, and to determine if a lizard is heavy enough to carry a transmitter. The transmitter is specifically made to fit the curvature of the lizard’s back, it will not exceed 5% of the lizard’s body weight, and quick-drying glue is used. Lizards will be restrained for a minimal amount of time for the transmitter glue to dry and then will be placed back where they were found. Lizards will be monitored daily to ensure the transmitter remains properly affixed to the lizard without interfering with movement or foraging. GPS transmitters would result in less frequent human disturbance of the lizards, but they do not make them small enough to allow the lizards to move. There is not enough man-power available to watch a lizards movements throughout the season, and human presence may change how lizards move in their habitat. Lizards will be released from handling or from protective cages if they show signs of stress and observed until they resume normal behaviour. The research will not have any population-level impact. The benefits gained from this research may include the designation of critical habitat, which will help ensure the long-term survival of this species.

Contact Person(s)
Mr. Robert  Sissons
Conservation Biologist
Parks Canada
Grasslands National Park of Canada
P.O. Box 150
Val Marie, SK
S0N 2T0
Tel: 306-298-2166
Fax: 306-298-4505