The Eastern Wolf

The Eastern Wolf is one of Ottawa Valley's most elusive, yet most fascinating, denizen, but as a 'Species at Risk', its future is uncertain.


The Eastern wolf once occupied a range throughout eastern North America as far north as the Great Lakes. Due to habitat loss, and deliberate attempts to exterminate wolves over more than a century, Eastern wolves were eliminated in most of their historical range. Today they occupy a narrow band stretching from the Gulf of St Lawrence to southeastern Manitoba. The exact boundaries of this range are still poorly defined. However, wolves are seldom seen any great distance south of Algonquin or Gatineau parks.

It is CPAWS-OV’s position that the Ontario government should:

  • Establish a permanent Wolf Advisory Committee immediately.
  • Implement an immediate ban on killing of Gray and Eastern wolves in all provincial parks and conservation reserves.
  • Implement an immediate ban on killing of Eastern wolves throughout their current and historical range (for example, in the Algonquin to Adirondacks region which is a potential recovery area for the species).
  • Establish a comprehensive provincial Eastern Wolf conservation and recovery strategy.

CPAWS-OV has been working to protect the Eastern Wolf, a ‘Species at Risk’. While the coyote is not at risk, we still consider it an important member of the food chain, especially since wolves have been largely eradicated from much of eastern Ontario. We are therefore also working (through our Algonquin to Adirondacks initiative, for example) to have sufficient habitat and natural corridors set aside for it and other wildlife to live in a space where it has some chance to roam with minimal impact on humans.

Through these and other efforts, we are hoping that these negative encounters can be reduced, and that the general public is aware of the benefits of a working and healthy, natural environment.

We oppose the various “tournaments” and “bounties” that have been launched in the past few months to kill coyotes in eastern Ontario. These are a throwback to campaigns that were waged against the wolf a century ago, before there was any understanding of how ecosystems function.



  • In 2004, CPAWS Ottawa Valley played a key role in the establishment of a buffer zone in all 39 townships that surround Algonquin Park where killing of wolves and coyotes is prohibited. Previously, wolves from Algonquin were often shot, trapped or snared when they ventured outside the park boundary.
  • CPAWS has formally joined the Canadian Wolf Coalition! For more information, please visit the Coalition’s website . For information on their campaign to stop the planned BC wolf cull, click here.



How you can help

In March 2009, CPAWS-OV sent a letter to the Minister of the Environment asking when a Management Plan for the Eastern wolf would be released, given that the Species at Risk Act required that it be released in June 2008; click here to see a copy of that letter. The Minister replied in June 2009, indicating that an effort would be made to complete the Plan in a timely manner, and that studies are underway in Ontario and Quebec, in order to monitor the status of the wolves.


Did you know… ?

On March 31st, 2010, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resource’s research scientist Brent Patterson gave a presentation on the Eastern Wolf (and coyotes). Some of the information given included:

  • Most coyotes in Eastern Ontario are wolf-coyote hybrids.
  • Wolves in Algonquin Park are, in general, not inter-breeding with coyotes.
  • The buffer zone around Algonquin Park is a great success. Interestingly, mortality rates are down, but Algonquin Park populations are stable, so there is likely a fair amount of dispersal going on.
  • The Eastern wolf has been designated by both the federal and Ontario governments as a species of Special Concern. Canada’s Species at Risk Act requires that the federal minister prepare a Management Plan for the Eastern wolf by May 2008 that includes measures for the conservation of the species and its habitat, in cooperation with each province and territory in which the species is found. That Management Plan has still not been released.
  • A Strategy for Wolf Conservation in Ontario was adopted in June 2005. It represents an initial step towards a conservation strategy for Ontario wolves. Unfortunately, it does not provide adequate protection, especially for the Eastern wolf, which continues to be hunted and trapped throughout most of its range.
  • In October 2006, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario emphasized that the Strategy “does not constitute the management plan required by the federal Species at Risk Act” and called for urgent action by the Ministry of Natural Resources to address “the requirements of managing the eastern wolf as a species at risk”.
  • In 2005 the Minister of Natural Resources promised to establish a Wolf Advisory Committee by December of that year to evaluate additional wolf information as it became available. Unfortunately this committee has not been established.