Found only in small pockets throughout central Ontario and to a certain extent in western Quebec, the Eastern (Algonquin) Wolf is a species at risk with vulnerable populations. Although this cryptic species has been somewhat studied, we hope to refine the understanding and then the communications related to the Eastern Wolf in Ontario, and to provide new information, find enhanced solutions, and enlighten some public perceptions related to this icon.
The Eastern (Algonquin) Wolf is an apex predator- the top of the food chain. Therefore it’s status and health relates to everything below it. All the wildlife and habitats that surround the wolf have an impact on the survival of the wolf. Therefore, the wolf is an indicator of the health and vitality of the entirety of the wildlife within the forest ecosystem. This begins with the elements and characteristics of the soil in the forest. It includes the diversity and abundance of the plants, the herbivores, and then other middle-sized predators. A whole spectrum of wildlife is dependent on the wolf and the wolf depends on these habitats, ecosystems and animals too. Finally, the human footprint (development, travel-ways, noise, lighting) affects the habitats and wildlife of the forest and therefore ultimately affects the wolf.
A Draft Provincial Recovery Strategy was released with the intention of helping the species, and it included best available science at the time. The management approaches to sustain the Eastern wolf species that were identified within the Strategy are broad and will benefit from more detail and refinement, and further research to gain a better global understanding of the Eastern Wolf’s story. Lessons that result from further exploration can also inform exact communications to enlighten and hearten Ontarians. There is always more to learn and the story of the Eastern wolf is yet unfinished!
When undertaking to understand the wolf, questions to be asked include details related to the species’ biology, but also related to its ecology, such as changes in and of habitats, and changes in populations, health, and behaviours of associated wildlife species.
For example, changes to habitats and ecology, including residential development, have provided opportunities for the eastern coyote to thrive in areas that were originally populated by wolves. Consequently, a hybrid species (mix of wolf and coyote) has emerged and occupies areas near and of current wolf populations. Concerns related with the behaviours and impacts of this hybrid species on ecosystems, on forest wildlife, and then on the long-term survival of the wolf have been presented. Other concerns that may be related, surround issues of prey-biomass; the availability of beaver, the change in migrations of deer, and the habitat conditions to support these and other prey. These are questions that will assist in refining our collective understanding of the Eastern Wolf. There are also matters yet to be discovered that may relate to the health and ecology of the forests which support the wolf and which concern all the animals within the dynamic forest food web. There remains some mystery and more to learn about the ecology of and the threats to Eastern Wolves.
There is a lot to gather and realize from local nature/outdoor knowledge and Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge; from those that live on and from the land. Harvesters and Indigenous Knowledge holders have insights into the bio-dynamics of the forest; they may shed light on differences in and out of wolf territory; they have witnessed changes from development patterns; they have seen and experienced the impacts of management applications. This knowledge is invaluable in refining our understanding of the wolf and of the threats to the wolf. Local and Traditional Knowledge can reveal much about the ecology of the forest and unveil information about the many species that are connected to the wolf’s survival. We are therefore inviting harvesters and outdoor-enthusiasts to share their observations and provide testimonies by taking part in private interviews or online meetings. Local and traditional knowledge can be used to compare, contrast, and compliment the science and to light the way forward for a healthy future for our forests.
This initiative is provided in partnership with the Ontario Fur Harvesters Federation and supported by Environment Canada and Climate Change’s Community Nominated Priority Places Fund.
Have you witnessed changes in the patterns of the forest; the habitats (tree cover, wetlands), the predators (canids whether wolves, coyotes, or hybrids) and the prey species (beavers, moose, deer)? To share your observation or for more information call Leora at 705-854-3578, or register for an interview and we will contact you!
REGISTER FOR AN INTERVIEW HERE