Eastern Wolf Recovery in North America


Eastern Wolf recovery in North America

Last week members of CPAWS-OV team had a chance to participate in the Eastern Wolf Education Summit that was hosted by the Wolf Conservation Center at Mount Kisco, NY. This two day conference covered many aspects relevant to genetics, biology and ecology of the Eastern Wolf and other Canids in eastern North America. But the most important was understanding that all this information is needed for efficient strategies of Eastern Wolf recovery in the areas where it was extirpated in the result of human activities or direct persecution. Therefore the main goals of conference were:

 “Reach as much consensus as possible on the ideas about Eastern Wolf recovery”;

 And “Identify and design a preliminary network from which we can begin to work together to transfer scientific data into informed practices”.

Leading scientists and practitioners in the field of Eastern Wolf studies and conservation from Canada told about importance of this top predator for healthy ecosystems functioning, and about our responsibility to safe this unique species in North America. The Eastern Wolf has just recently been delineated as an independent genetic unit in Canada. The Eastern Grey Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) was added to the list of species at risk in Canada as a Species of Special Concern in 2004. In 2015, COSEWIC declared officially the Eastern Wolf as a unique species named Canis lycaon and raised its status to Threatened with criteria D1 (<1000 mature individuals.)

CPAWS-OV support all conservation efforts for recovery of Eastern Wolf. In 2006, CPAWS Ottawa Valley led efforts to establish a permanent wolf protection zone in 40 counties surrounding Algonquin Provincial Park, the same size as the park. This zone appears to be functioning, taking into account that population structure inside the park is relatively stable and Park supports a core wolf population, providing emigrating individuals that colonize surrounding areas and move to other suitable habitats across landscape.

In addition to securing the wolf protection zone around Algonquin Park, CPAWS Ottawa Valley is leading a number of initiatives in the region which will be a benefit to not only wolves, but other species as well. In Ontario, we are working to maintain and restore ecological connectivity in a broad area known as Algonquin to Adirondacks through the establishment of new protected areas, through targeted outreach to landowners and decision-makers and as a result of our new road ecology program which seeks to mitigate the impact of the region’s road network on ecological connectivity. Protecting these connections will ensure the opportunity for species like the Eastern wolf to move across the landscape.

In 2014, CPAWS-OV hosted a lecture of Dr. Linda Rutledge, leading scientist in the wolves’ genetics. During this Education Summit we had chance to talk with Dr. Brent Patterson, leading wolf specialist of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and he kindly agreed to make a presentation in Ottawa about history and population dynamics of Eastern Wolf in November of this year. Keep your eyes on our news! We inform you about exact date and place of this interesting and important presentation.

Finally, when we came back home to Ottawa, we got encouraging news about including the Eastern Wolf (named in the registry as Algonquin Wolf) in the list of the Ontario Species at risk:

“The Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) assessed and classified 19 species and populations in 2015.  Based on the 2015 assessments; the Algonquin Wolf (formerly known as Eastern Wolf) will now be classified as “threatened” on the Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO) List, under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  On June 15, 2016 the SARO List regulation will be amended to include Algonquin Wolf, thereby activating protection provisions under the ESA, while it also remains a managed species under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA).  Under the ESA, all threatened and endangered species and their habitat are automatically protected”.

For more information please see the following links:

http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTI4NzAw&amp;statusId=MTk0NjQw&amp;language=en

https://www.ontario.ca/page/eastern-wolf#section- 3

Elena Kreuzberg, Conservation Biologist

Leah Viau, Intern