National Wildlife Areas - Environment Canada

To protect both wildlife, especially migratory wildlife and species at risk, and their habitat, the Canada Wildlife Act was passed in 1973 to authorize the establishment of protected areas known as National Wildlife Areas (NWAs). There are 51 NWAs across Canada protecting a total of over 529 000 hectares. They are regions which include relatively undisturbed ecosystems containing nationally significant aquatic and/or terrestrial habitats necessary for animals or plants to survive.


National Wildlife Areas are created and managed for the purposes of wildlife research, conservation, and interpretation. Regulated hunting is permitted in some locations. Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) uses an ecosystem approach to manage and plan for NWAs. This approach requires the cooperation of public and private institutions to manage landscapes with a common goal of habitat protection.

Source: Environment Canada’s website.


  • Criteria for Selecting Candidate National Wildlife Areas

For protected areas in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,

Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island:

Canadian Wildlife Service 
Environment Canada 
P.O. Box 6227 
17 Waterfowl Lane 
Sackville, New Brunswick E4L 1G6 
Phone: (506) 364-5044

Microplastics in sediments from the rivers Elbe (A), Mosel (B), Neckar (C), and Rhine (D). Note the diverse shapes (filaments, fragments, and spheres) and that not all items are microplastics (e.g., aluminum foil (C) and glass spheres and sand (D), white arrowheads). The white bars represent 1 mm.

Sea Wolf Island National Wildlife Area (NWA), locally referred to as Margaree Island, is located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 4 kilometers (km) off the coast of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Find National Wildlife Areas by Provinces and Territories


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