The Wolf Intelligencer


Labrador Wolf (Canis lupus labradorius)

Labrador Wolf (Canis lupus labradorius) – (Goldman 1937)

Common Names:

Overall population: unknown

Physical description:

“The color of this wolf of northern Labrador varies from “dark somewhat grizzly gray to almost white.“ It is larger than the eastern wolf, with heavier dentition and miner cranial differences, and seems to be only differentiated. It’s geographical range is not at present determined but is presumed to be the Labrador Peninsula north of the forest region.”

Extinct and vanishing mammals of the western hemisphere, with the marine species of all the oceans, American Committee for International Wild Life Protection, p. 209. Glover, A.1942

Original range – Labrador, northern Quebec
Current range – Labrador, northern Quebec

Habitat / Ecology / Prey:
Habitat – coastline wetlands, peatland, boreal forest, tundra, tiaga

climate change
Climate change and health in Nunavik and Labrador: Lessons from Inuit knowledge. Furgal C, Martin D, Gosselin P. The earth is faster now: Indigenous observations of Arctic environmental change. 2002


Primary boreal woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou),

red fox (Vulpes vulpes),  Harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus),  common raven (Corvus corax) , muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus; Inuktitut: ᐅᒥᖕᒪᒃ, umingmak), moose (Alces alces), snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus), beaver (Castor canadensis), rodents and fish.

“The study area was within the Low Sub-Arctic Eco-climatic Province and was predominantly taiga in character… Canis lupusL. (Gray Wolf) and Ursus americanus Pallas (American Black Bear) were present in the study areas. Wolf densities were unknown, but appeared to be low, with most packs incidentally observed having between 3 and 7 wolves (Dalton 1986; T.S. Jung et al., unpubl. data). Wolf predation of Woodland Caribou and Castor canadensis Kuhl (American Beaver) was commonly observed, but we rarely observed moose killed by wolves in the study area.”

Winter habitat associations of a low-density moose (Alces americanus) population in central Labrador. Jung TS, Chubbs TE, Jones CG, Phillips FR, Otto RD. Northeastern Naturalist. 2009 Sep

International Wolf Center – Labrador and Newfoundland
International Wolf Center – Quebec

Legal and Cultural Background:

“The assignment of wolves to age classes was necessary to determine survival rates, growth, productivity and other population characteristics to evaluate their impact upon the George River population of caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) (Parker and Luttich, 1986 – this issue). Most wolves had been shot by caribou hunters, many during the winter months of January-March, when caribou became accessible to hunters in coastal communities of northern Quebec.”

Identification of pups and yearling wolves by dentine width in the canine. Parker GR, Maxwell JW. Arctic. 1986 Jan

Nature Conservancy Canada (Labrador Conservation Blueprint)

Interesting Behavior

“The calving grounds for most northern mainland caribou populations, especially the George River population, are not prime wolf denning habitat. This may explain why such areas have been selected for calving by northern mainland caribou populations. The prime denning areas for northern wolves is near the treeline. It is at the treeline that wolves are without caribou for the shortest period of time. As wolf populations increase, more subadult (non-breeding) wolves may follow the migrating caribou farther onto the tundra toward the calving grounds. More wolves on the calving area would mean more predation upon young calves (Miller and Broughton,1974).”

Characteristics of the wolf (Canis lupus labradorius Goldman) in northern Quebec and Labrador;GR Parker, S Luttich – Arctic, 1986

Taxonomic/Genetic Information:

“We found nine mtDNA haplotypes in 22 historic cUS Canislupus nubilusbut only three of these haplotypes werepresent in modern North American wolves (lu28, lu32 andlu38), and the remaining six were novel (lu48, lu49, lu50,lu51, lu52, and lu53) (Fig. 1, Tables 1 and 2). A ubiquitous(lu32) and a unique haplotype (lu54) were found in fourhistoric Labrador, Canada wolves.”

FAST TRACK: Legacy lost: genetic variability and population size of extirpated US grey wolves (Canis lupus). Leonard JA, Vila C, Wayne RK. Molecular Ecology. 2005 Jan


Further Reading

Journal / Scientific Publications:

Prevalence of Sarcocystis spp. in two subspecies of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in Newfoundland and Labrador, and foxes (Vulpes vulpes), wolves (Canis lupus), and husky dogs (Canis familiaris) as potential definitive hosts. Khan RA, Evans L. Journal of Parasitology. 2006 Jun

Identification of pups and yearling wolves by dentine width in the canine. Parker GR, Maxwell JW. Arctic. 1986 Jan

Characteristics of the wolf (Canis lupus labradorius Goldman) in northern Quebec and Labrador; GR Parker, S Luttich – Arctic, 1986

Observations on foxes, Alopex lagopus and Vulpes vulpes, and wolves, Canis lupus on the off-shore sea ice of northern Labrador.
D Andriashek, HPL Kiliaan, MK Taylor – Canadian field-naturalist. Ottawa ON, 1985


%d bloggers like this: