The Wolf Intelligencer

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." John Muir

Alaskan Tundra Wolf (Canis lupus tundrarum)

Alaskan tundra Wolf (Canis lupus tundrarum) – (Miller 1912)

Common Names: barren-ground wolf, boreal wolf, Interior Alaskan wolf, Yukon wolf, Hudson Bay wolf, Mackenzie River wolf, Northwestern wolf

Original range – Northern Canada
Current range – Arctic Coast region from near Point Barrow, Alaska eastward toward Hudson Bay and north to the Arctic Archipelago

Habitat / Ecology / Prey:
Habitat – tundra, boreal forest, taiga plains, taiga shield, Arctic coast
Ecology –
Prey – caribou (Rangifer tarandus), barren-ground caribou, woodland caribou,  moose (Alces alces), bison (Bison bison), muskoxen

“During the spring and summer the diet of wolves is much more varied than in winter and small rodents, passerine birds, eggs and fish are then resorted to, particularly in areas temporarily devoid of caribou.”

Feeding ecology of wolves on barren-ground caribou range in the Northwest Territories (Doctoral dissertation, University of Saskatchewan). Kuyt, E., 1969.

Other wolf prey in the region.
wolverine (Gulo gulo), weasel (Mustela spp.), mink (Mustela vison), muskrat (Ondatra zibethica), otter (Lontra canadensis), beaver (Castor canadensis), snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), brown lemming (Lemmus sibiricus), red-backed vole (Clethrioomys gapperi)

Other predator Species
polar bear (Ursus maritimus), grizzly bear (Ursos arctos), black bear (U. americanus) (Wolves will go after bears.)

Beautiful birds of the Canadian boreal and tundra!
Common raven (Corvus corax), Canada jay (Perisoreus canadensis), willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus), rock ptarmigan (L. mutus), sandhill crane (Grus canadensis), osprey (Pandion haliaetus), spruce grouse (Dendragapus canadensis), snowy owl (Nyctea scandiaca), snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis), Canada goose (Branta canadensis), northern pintail (Anas acuta), red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator), American golden plover (Pluvialis dominica), pomarine jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus), Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea), yellow-billed loon (Gavia adamsii), northern harrier (Circus hudsonius), sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus), northern hawk-owl (Surnia ulula), boreal owl (Aegolius funereus), gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus)

Relevant flora of the Canadian tundra and boreal regions
Lichen, black spruce (Picea mariana), tamarack (Larix laricina), white spruce (Picea glauca) dwarf birch (Betula sp.), ericaceous shrubs (Ericaceae), cottongrass (Eriophorum spp.), sedge (Carex spp.), sphagnum moss (Sphagnum spp.), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera), balsam fir (Abies balsamea)

Interesting behaviors:

Legal and Cultural Background:


Taxonomic/Genetic Information:


Further Reading
Enhanced North Slave Wolf Harvest Incentive Program Government of Northwest Territories
Ecosystem Classification Government of Northwest Territories

Northern Canadian Shield Taiga (Ecosystem Classification Group [ECG]) 2012

Journal / Scientific Publications:

Synchronicity of movement paths of barren-ground caribou and tundra wolves. Hansen IJ, Johnson CJ, Cluff HD. Polar Biology. 2013 Sep

Differentiation of tundra/taiga and boreal coniferous forest wolves: genetics, coat colour and association with migratory caribou. Musiani M, Leonard JA, Cluff HD, Gates CC, Mariani S, Paquet PC, Vila C, Wayne RKMolecular Ecology. 2007 Oct

Long foraging movement of a denning tundra wolf; PF Frame, DS Hik, HD Cluff, PC Paquet – Arctic, 2004

Hierarchical Habitat Selection by Tundra Wolves; Philip D. McLoughlin Lyle R. Walton H. Dean Cluff Paul C. Paquet Malcolm A. Ramsay; Journal of Mammalogy, Volume 85, Issue 3, 1 June 2004

Feeding ecology of wolves on barren-ground caribou range in the Northwest Territories (Doctoral dissertation, University of Saskatchewan). Kuyt, E., 1969.


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