The Wolf Intelligencer


Mackenzie River Wolf (Canis lupus mackenzii)

Mackenzie River Wolf (Canis lupus mackenzii) – (Anderson 1943)

Common Names: Columbian wolf, Manitoba wolf, Mackenzie tundra wolf, Mackenzie Valley wolf, barren-ground wolf and Alaska tundra wolf

Overall population:

Physical description:

“C.I. mackenzii Andersson 1943 Mackenzie tundra wolf. Although C.I. mackenzii is a medium-sized, it is smaller than most of the wolves of the subspecies adjacent to it. It’s color ranges from black to white, but buffer white individuals are the most common. “

The wolf: The Ecology and Behaviour of an Endangered Species, Mech, L. David Natural History Press, 1970

Original range and Current range –

“The range of this wolf is along the Arctic Coast in the Northwest Territories eastward from the Mackenzie River and south to Great Bear Lake.”

The wolf: The Ecology and Behaviour of an Endangered Species, Mech, L. David Natural History Press, 1970

Habitat / Ecology / Prey:
Habitat – tundra, mountains, river valley, wetlands, bogs, boreal forests, lowlands
Prey – Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae) boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), moose (Alces alces), snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), beaver (Castor canadensis), fish

Intrapopulation variability in wolf diet revealed using a combined stable isotope and fatty acid approach. O’Donovan SA, Budge SM, Hobson KA, Kelly AP, Derocher AE.Ecosphere. 2018 Sep

“Alternative prey for wolves includes waterfowl, other ground-nesting birds, their eggs, rodents,and hare.”

Long Foraging Movement of a Denning Tundra Wolf. FRAME PF, HIK DS, CLUFF HD, PAQUET PC. ARCTIC. 2004 Jun

Beautiful Birds of Northwest Territories!
Common raven (Corvus corax), Canada jay (Perisoreus canadensis), Merlin (Falco columbarius), Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius), Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus), Great horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis), 


Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii), Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus), Northern Hawk-owl (Surnia ulula), Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons), Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), northern pintail (Anas acuta), common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus), Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta), Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica), Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus), American herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus), Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea), Red-throated loon (Gavia stellata), Boreal chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus), Snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis), American tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea), Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca), White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys), Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata), Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)

Legal and Cultural Background:
Northwest Territories Environment and Natural Resources


Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna

Taxonomic/Genetic Information:

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 RK. Molecular Ecology. 2007 Oct


Further Reading

Wolves in Northwest Territories, Canada
Enhanced North Slave Wolf Harvest Incentive Program
International Wolf Center – Northwest Territories
Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary
Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary
Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve

Working Group on General Status of NWT Species NWT species 2016-2020 : general status ranks of wild species in the Northwest Territories.

Journal / Scientific Publications:

Hierarchical habitat selection by tundra wolves. McLoughlin PD, Walton LR, Cluff HD, Paquet PC, Ramsay MA. Journal of Mammalogy. 2004 Jun

Prey specialization may influence patterns of gene flow in wolves of the Canadian Northwest
LE Carmichael, JA Nagy, NC Larter… – Molecular …, 2001

Movement patterns of barren-ground wolves in the central Canadian Arctic. Walton LR, Cluff HD, Paquet PC, Ramsay MA. Journal of Mammalogy. 2001 Aug

Fetal development in wolves, Canis lupus, of the Keewatin District, Northwest Territories, Canada. Hillis TL, Mallory FF. Canadian journal of zoology. 1996 Dec

Sexual dimorphism in wolves (Canis lupus) of the Keewatin District, Northwest territories, Canada. Hillis TL, Mallory FF. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 1996 Apr

Distribution of wolf dens on migratory caribou ranges in the Northwest Territories, Canada
DC Heard, TM Williams – Canadian Journal of Zoology, 1992