The Wolf Intelligencer

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

Eastern Wolf “Algonquin Wolf” (Canis lycaon, Canis lupus lycaon)

Eastern Wolf (Canis lycaon, Canis lupus lycaon) – (Schreber 1775)

Common Names: Eastern Gray Wolf, Eastern Timber wolf, Algonquin wolf , Deer Wolf

Overall population:

“In order to estimate the maximum number of Eastern Wolves within the extent of occurrence, the total area of the extent of occurrence (126,573 km²) was multiplied by the estimated density of wolves in Algonquin Provincial Park (3.0 individuals/100 km2 x 69% = 2.07 individuals/100 km2). It was thus estimated that the number of Eastern Wolves within the extent of occurrence was between 450 and 2,620 individuals, 205 to 1,203 of that number being mature individuals.20 The estimation of the upper value of the range was based on the assumption that Eastern Wolf density throughout the extent of occurrence is equivalent to that observed in Algonquin Provincial Park, which is unlikely. Given the threats to the Eastern Wolf outside protected areas, the number of mature individuals is probably closer to the lower value of the range and is very likely below 1000 (COSEWIC 2015).”

Environment and Climate Change Canada. 2017. Management Plan for the Eastern Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) in Canada [Proposed], Species at Risk Act Management Plan Series, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, vi + 52 p.

Physical description:

“In Algonquin Provincial Park, the average weight of Eastern Wolf adult males was 30.3 kg (standard error of 0.6 kg, n=48) and the average weight of adult females was 23.9 kg (standard error of 0.6 kg, n=40; Theberge and Theberge 2004). In Quebec, Hénault and Jolicoeur (2003) report that the average weight of male wolves, including Eastern Wolves, Grey Wolves and most likely hybrids, ranged from 24.7 kg (Papineau-Labelle Wildlife Reserve) to 44.5 kg (La Mauricie National Park and surrounding area, including the Saint-Maurice Wildlife Reserve, the Mastigouche Wildlife Reserve and the Chapeau-de-Paille controlled harvesting zone [ZEC]), and the average weight of females ranged from 21.7 kg (on the outskirts of the La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve) to 28.2 kg (La Mauricie National Park and surrounding area). The coat colour of the Eastern Wolf is quite variable, but is usually described as tawny, with more reddish-brown and brown highlights than the Grey Wolf and the Great Lakes–Boreal Wolf (Young and Goldman 1944; Kolenosky and Standfield 1975).”

Environment and Climate Change Canada. 2017. Management Plan for the Eastern Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) in Canada [Proposed],

Range:
Original range Northeastern side of Great Lakes, North America, Canada

“Historically, the Eastern Wolf inhabited the deciduous forests of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada.”

Environment and Climate Change Canada. 2017. Management Plan for the Eastern Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) in Canada [Proposed],

Current range Algonquin Provincial Park. Central Ontario and Southwestern Quebec.

“Our analyses confirm the unique genomic composition of eastern wolves, which are mostly restricted to small fragmented patches of protected habitat in central Ontario.”

Population Genomic Analysis of North American Eastern Wolves (Canis lycaon) Supports Their Conservation Priority Status
E Heppenheimer, RJ Harrigan, LY Rutledge… – Genes, 2018

“In Ontario, the Eastern Wolf is found in Algonquin Provincial Park and the surrounding townships, as well as in Killarney Provincial Park and near French River Provincial Park, in Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park and in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park (Benson et al.2012; COSEWIC 2015; Rutledge et al. 2016.).
Its distribution in Quebec includes the Papineau-Labelle Wildlife Reserve and surrounding area, Maganasipi ZEC, the Mont-Tremblant National Park and Rouge-Matawin Wildlife Reserve area, the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve ad La Mauricie National Park and surrounding area (including in particular the Saint-Maurice Wildlife Reserve and the Mastigouche Wildlife Reserve; Potvin 1987; Villemure and Festa-Bianchet 2002; Villemure 2003; Villemure and Masse 2004; Rogic et al. 2014; Tessier, unpub. data).”

Environment and Climate Change Canada. 2017. Management Plan for the Eastern Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) in Canada [Proposed],

Habitat / Ecology / Prey:
Habitat – Mixedwood Forest

Ecology

PreyWhite-tailed Deer (Odo -coileus virginianus), Moose (Alces alces) , Beaver (Castor canadensis)

“The wolf population was estimated as 3.9 per 100 km2. The density of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was approximately 576 per 100 km2 and moose (Alces alces) averaged 19 per 100 km2. Deer constituted the main diet of wolves in all seasons. A conclusion was drawn that wolf predation was “a major mortality factor” on deer. Moose and beaver, the 2 alternate prey species, were taken only infrequently.”

The wolves of Algonquin Park: a 12 year ecological study. Toronto, ON, Theberge JB, Theberge MT. Canada: Department of Geography, University of Waterloo; 2004.

Alternative Prey and  Sympatric Wildlife

snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), raccoon (Procyon lot or), porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), groundhog (Marmota monad), river otter (Lontra canadensis), marten (Martes americana), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), black bear (Ursus americanus), coyote (Canis latrans thamnos), lynx (Lynx canadensis), mink (Neovison vison), fisher (Pekania pennant)

Beautiful Birds

Common Raven (Corvus corax), Spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis),

Some Flora of Algonquin Provincial Forest

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum ), Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis), Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.)), Sphagnum moss, balsam fir (Abies balsamea), black spruce (Piceamariana), white spruce (Picea glauca) ,white pine (Pinus strobus), red pine (Pinus resinosa), jack pine (Pinus Banksiana), red maple (Acerrubrum), tembling aspen (Populus tremuloides), large-toothed aspen (Populus grandidentata)

“The region ischaracterized by upland hardwood forest dominated by Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum Marshall), Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britton), and Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carrière) atop the Precambrian shield of the Algonquin dome (Forbes and Theberge1993).”

Observation of an Eastern Wolf (Canis sp. cf. lycaon) Caching Food in a Sphagnum Bog in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
PD Moldowan, H Kitching – The Canadian Field-Naturalist, 201

“Forests are transitional between the Boreal forest region and the Algonquin Highlands section of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest region (Rowe 1972). Western portions, with more precipitation and relief than in the east, are dominated by sugar maple (Acer saccharum), yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) and to a lesser extent eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) in the highlands, and balsam fir (Abies balsamea), black spruce (Piceamariana) and white spruce (Picea glauca) in lowlands. The eastern half of the park consists of either shallow soils of the Madawaska Highlands or sandy outwash from ancient glacier spillways, both dominated by white pine (Pinus strobus), red pine (Pinus resinosa) or jack pine (Pinus Banksiana) depending upon soil moisture grading from damper to drier respectively. These pine stands are interlaced with varying degrees of red maple (Acerrubrum), tembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) and large-toothed aspen (Populus grandidentata) depending upon site conditions and disturbance, and usually increase after logging or fire. “

The wolves of Algonquin Park: a 12 year ecological study. Toronto, ON, Theberge JB, Theberge MT. Canada: Department of Geography, University of Waterloo; 2004

Interesting behaviors:

“Algonquin wolves hybridize with Great Lakes boreal wolves and eastern coyotes to the north and south of Algonquin Park, respectively.,. “

Whole-genome sequence analysis shows that two endemic species of North American wolf are admixtures of the coyote and gray wolf
JA Cahill, Z Fan, I Gronau, J Robinson… – Science …, 2016

Legal and Cultural Background:

“The Eastern Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) is listed as a species of special concern under Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), which requires the drafting of a management plan.The taxonomic status of the Eastern Wolf has been a subject of debate, and recent progress in genetic research has led to a better understanding of the origins of several species and hybrids of the genusCanis in North America.These new genetic analyses indicate that the Eastern Wolf is not a subspecies of the Grey Wolf  (Canis lupus lycaon). In May 2015,the Eastern Wolf was recognized as the speciesCanis sp. cf. lycaon and was designated Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC 2015).This management plan also considers the Eastern Wolf as a distinct species. However, it is important to note that the legal status of the species under SARA remains “Special Concern” until a decision is taken by the Governor in Council to change the legal status of the species.”

Environment and Climate Change Canada. 2017. Management Plan for the Eastern Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) in Canada [Proposed], Species at Risk Act Management Plan Series, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, vi + 52 p.

“Wolves were first protected in Algonquin Park in 1958. For decades before that, park rangers were encouraged to kill them. Other than an experimental kill in 1964 and 1965, wolves have been protected since 1958, except for very small numbers taken by native trappers… Native trapping of wolves ceased in the early 1990s by a decision of the Golden Lake First Nations Band.”

The wolves of Algonquin Park: a 12 year ecological study. Toronto, ON, Theberge JB, Theberge MT. Canada: Department of Geography, University of Waterloo; 2004

Conservation:

Taxonomic/Genetic Information:

“Nuclear DNA analyses carried out by Ph.D. student Paul Wilson, M.Sc. student Sonya Grewal and others in White’s lab focussed on multi-allelic sections, called microsatellites, of nuclear DNA. By identifying the frequencies of up to 10 alleles that were present at 17 chromosomal loci, populations could be compared with confidence. In that way, the Algonquin wolf lined up most closely with the red wolf, and was distinctive at a population level when compared with both gray wolf and coyote. Wilson et al. (2000a) proposed amalgamating the red wolf and Canis lupus lycaon as a reclassified species called Canis lycaon.”

The wolves of Algonquin Park: a 12 year ecological study. Toronto, ON, Theberge JB, Theberge MT. Canada: Department of Geography, University of Waterloo; 2004

LATEST NEWS AND INFORMATION

Further Reading

Wolves in Ontario
Wolves in Quebec
Wolves in Algonquin Provincial Park

The Ecology of the Timber Wolf In Algonquin Park (by D.H. Pimlott, J.A. Shannon, and G.B. Kolenosky) 1969

Journal / Scientific Publications:

Population Genomic Analysis of North American Eastern Wolves (Canis lycaon) Supports Their Conservation Priority Status
E Heppenheimer, RJ Harrigan, LY Rutledge… – Genes, 2018

Ecological niche differentiation across a wolf‐coyote hybrid zone in eastern North America
JA Otis, D Thornton, L Rutledge… – Diversity and …, 2017

[HTML] Comment on “Whole-genome sequence analysis shows two endemic species of North American wolf are admixtures of the coyote and gray wolf”
PA Hohenlohe, LY Rutledge, LP Waits… – Science …, 2017

Observation of an Eastern Wolf (Canis sp. cf. lycaon) Caching Food in a Sphagnum Bog in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
PD Moldowan, H Kitching – The Canadian Field-Naturalist, 2017

[HTML] Whole-genome sequence analysis shows that two endemic species of North American wolf are admixtures of the coyote and gray wolf
JA Cahill, Z Fan, I Gronau, J Robinson… – Science …, 2016

Winter population dynamics between the Eastern Wolf (Canis lycaon) and the Common Raven (Corvus corax) in Algonquin Park, Ontario
R Lamoureux – Journal of Undergraduate Studies at Trent (JUST), 2016

Resource selection by wolves at dens and rendezvous sites in Algonquin park, Canada
JF Benson, KJ Mills, BR Patterson – Biological Conservation, 2015

 Identifying individual wild Eastern grey wolves (Canis lupus lycaon) using fundamental frequency and amplitude of howls. Root-Gutteridge H, Bencsik M, Chebli M, Gentle LK, Terrell-Nield C, Bourit A, Yarnell RW.Bioacoustics. 2014 Jan

[BOOK] Wolf country: eleven years tracking the Algonquin wolves
J Theberge, M Theberge – 2013

A genome-wide perspective on the evolutionary history of enigmatic wolf-like canids
JP Pollinger, DA Earl, JC Knowles, AR Boyko… – Genome …, 2011

Genetic differentiation of eastern wolves in Algonquin Park despite bridging gene flow between coyotes and grey wolves
LY Rutledge, CJ Garroway, KM Loveless, BR Patterson – Heredity, 2010

Protection from harvesting restores the natural social structure of eastern wolf packs
LY Rutledge, BR Patterson, KJ Mills, KM Loveless… – Biological …, 2010

Flawed population viability analysis can result in misleading population assessment: a case study for wolves in Algonquin park, Canada
BR Patterson, DL Murray – Biological Conservation, 2008

Pitfalls of applying adaptive management to a wolf population in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario; JB Theberge, MT Theberge, JA Vucetich… – Environmental …, 2006

Genetic nature of eastern wolves: past, present and future
CJ Kyle, AR Johnson, BR Patterson, PJ Wilson… – Conservation …, 2006

[BOOK] The wolves of Algonquin Park: a 12 year ecological study
JB Theberge, MT Theberge – 2004

Estimating wolf densities in forested areas using network sampling of tracks in snow
BR Patterson, NWS Quinn, EF Becker, DB Meier – Wildlife Society Bulletin, 2004

A Genetic Assessment of the Eastern Wolf (Canis lycaon) in Algonquin Provincial Park
SK Grewal, PJ Wilson, TK Kung, K Shami… – Journal of …, 2004

Landscape influence on Canis morphological and ecological variation in a Coyote-Wolf C. lupus× latrans hybrid zone, southeastern Ontario
HJ Sears, JB Theberge… – The Canadian …, 2003

Forest composition around wolf (Canis lupus) dens in eastern Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
DR Norris, MT Theberge… – Canadian Journal of …, 2002

DNA profiles of the eastern Canadian wolf and the red wolf provide evidence for a common evolutionary history independent of the gray wolf
PJ Wilson, S Grewal, ID Lawford… – … Journal of zoology, 2000

Assessing potential gray wolf restoration in the northeastern United States: a spatial prediction of favorable habitat and potential population levels
DJ Mladenoff, TA Sickley – The Journal of wildlife management, 1998

Cross‐boundary management of Algonquin Park wolves
GJ Forbes, JB Theberge – Conservation Biology, 1996

Patterns of wolf pack movements prior to kills as read from tracks in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ont., Canada
JH Frijlink – Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde, 1977

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