The Algonquin wolf, also known as the eastern wolf, is an iconic Ontario species and an ecologically important predator. Algonquin wolves have a direct influence on their prey, including beaver, deer and moose. Their presence in the ecosystem also has many indirect effects on plants, animals and ecological processes.
This wolf used to be found across eastern North America. Now, there are only a few small pockets of them remaining, mostly in central Ontario and southern Quebec. There may be as few as 250 mature Algonquin wolves left. In June 2016, the Algonquin wolf was designated as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This means that the species is likely to become endangered if steps are not taken to address the threats it faces.
Although it is generally illegal to kill or harm a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry allows hunting and trapping of this threatened species to continue throughout much of its range. Currently, Algonquin wolves are only protected from hunting and trapping in and around a few isolated provincial parks. The Algonquin wolf stands little chance of recovery unless it is better protected. In our 2017 Environmental Protection Report, Good Choices, Bad Choices, the ECO recommended that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry prohibit hunting and trapping of wolves and coyotes where Algonquin wolves are known to live.
The Endangered Species Act requires the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to ensure that a recovery strategy is developed for threatened species like the Algonquin wolf. Recovery strategies provide recommendations on protection and recovery objectives and how to achieve them, as well as recommendations for regulating the species’ habitat. Once a recovery strategy is finalized, the Ontario government has nine months to publish a response that explains which of the recommended actions it will take and how it will prioritize those actions.
The draft recovery strategy for the Algonquin wolf is now available on the Environmental Registry. It is open for public input until February 14, 2018 to ensure that the best available scientific information, including traditional ecological knowledge, is considered in developing the strategy. To access the draft recovery strategy and find out how to submit your comments, check out notice #013-1813 on the Environmental Registry.