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Wolves Ontario!

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The wolvesontario.org website is being kept online for archival purposes.

For current news and updates on our wolves campaign, please visit www.earthroots.org.



Ontario limits the number of wolves that can be killed for sport
Earthroots says Minister Ramsay is leading the pack in the right direction

10 July, 2005 (Toronto) Earthroots congratulates Minister of Natural Resources, David Ramsay, who today announced his decision to improve the conservation of wolves across the province. The Minister will regulate the recreational hunting of wolves by limiting the number each properly licensed hunter can shoot to two per year. Effective September 15th, hunters who want to shoot wolves, must now purchase a special wolf seal. Ontario hunters will have to pay $10 for the seal but non-residents will have to pay $250. Earthroots hopes this will lead to an end to sport hunting wolves; an activity that Americans are predominantly participating in. The Minister is also making it mandatory to report all wolves killed regardless of the method and reason.

"The days of managing the Big Bad Wolf are finally coming to an end," says Melissa Tkachyk, Earthroots' Wolves Ontario! Coordinator. "These new regulations will enable the government to better assess how many Eastern or Gray wolves are killed each year for sport or to protect livestock and the impact this is having within the ecosystem."

Earthroots welcomes the new regulatory improvements calling today's decision a good first step but says more work still needs to be done to protect wolves and their habitat. Wolves are only protected on 3% of their range in the province, while 97% is still open to hunting and trapping. Only a few parks are off-limits to hunters and trappers and large enough to sustain a viable wolf population.

"There is clearly an imbalance between the percentage of the province where wolves are managed as game and the few protected areas, off-limits to traps and bullets where wolves can just be wolves," says Tkachyk. "Keeping critical wolf habitat areas free of exploitation is necessary if we want true wilderness in Ontario."

Ontario had long been recognized as one of the worst jurisdictions in the world for its exploitative wolf management policies. Up until this year, wolves were treated as vermin and could be killed 365 days of the year without any limitations. This is the first time in the history of Ontario, that there are restrictions on killing wolves across the majority of their provincial range.


There is still no limit on the number of wolves each trapper can kill. Earthroots says between 500-600 wolves are trapped every year for the commercial sale of their pelts. The majority of wolves are caught in strangling neck snares, which Earthroots calls ‘a cruel and non-selective’ trap.

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For more information, please contact:

Melissa Tkachyk (Ta-caw-chik), Earthroots – (416) 599-0152 x12 (office), (416) 819-7424 (cell)


The final Strategy for Wolf Conservation in Ontario is available on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) Registry. To view the strategy, visit www.ene.gov.on.ca/samples/search/Ebrquery_REG.htm and enter EBR Registry Number PB04E6020.

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WolvesOntario campaigner Melissa Tkachyk discusses the new legislation on CP24, July 18, 2005 - click here for 22MB RealVideo file.







American hunters are shooting Ontario wolves just outside protected wilderness areas. Find out more.

Ontarians support ban on sport hunting wolves. Earthroots releases new poll on attitudes towards wolf protection
(PDF - 278k)

Read Earthroots' report Ontario wolves under threat! The call for a provincial wolf protection plan.
(PDF - 2 MB)


Help save Pukaskwa wolves!





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Background Information:

Provincial wolf population

The MNR estimates that there are between 8,000 and 10,000 wolves in the province. This estimation was made over 40 years ago and has remained unchanged. However no reliable survey method has been employed.

There are two wolf species in Ontario: the Gray wolf (Canis lupus) and the Eastern wolf (Canis lycaon) which is also known as the Algonquin wolf because of its declining yet popular presence in Algonquin Provincial Park. The MNR implemented a permanent ban on hunting and trapping wolves and coyotes in 40 townships surrounding the park last spring in an attempt to curb the park's population decline. The Eastern wolf has been added to both the National and Provincial Species at Risk lists as a species of “Special Concern”.

Impacts of hunting and trapping wolves

Approximately 500 wolves are trapped every year for the commercial sale of their pelts. There are no accurate records on how many wolves are hunted every year or killed because they were viewed as vermin or a threat on private property. Population numbers alone are not the sole indicator for the long-term viability of a wolf population. Human activity, including hunting and trapping can affect wolf behavior and the social integrity of the wolf pack. Wolf populations diminish or cease to exist in areas with road densities exceeding 0.58 km/km2.

Protected Areas for Wolves

Wolf biologists estimate that at least 500 km2 is needed to ensure the viability of a wolf population because of their large territorial requirements. There are only 4 areas in Ontario that are off limits to wolf hunters and trappers that are also large enough in size: Algonquin and Lake Superior Provincial Parks and Chapleau and Nipissing Crown Game Preserves. These total a mere 3% of protected sanctuary within the wolf’s range.

Public Opinion

A province-wide poll conducted by Oraclepoll Research of Sudbury this year surveyed Ontarians’ attitudes about wolves and the government’s management of the species. Key findings include:

  • 88% strongly oppose the practice of sport hunting wolves and more than 70% want an end to the practice of baiting and using dogs to hunt wolves.
  • 82% strongly oppose killing wolves in order to sell their pelts.
  • 88% favour having a sustainable wolf management program, as most do not see that enough is currently being done now to manage wolves.
  • 74% support protecting more wolf habitat.
  • A strong majority also want bag limits, kills to be reported and closing the spring season when pups are born.

Earthroots is a non-profit, grassroots environmental organization dedicated to protecting wilderness, wildlife and watersheds through research, education and action. Founded in 1986, Earthroots has over 12,000 supporters throughout Canada.

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