Permanent Protection Granted for Algonquin Wolves
Earthroots congratulates Minister of Natural Resources, David Ramsay
who permanently banned the hunting and of wolves and coyotes in the
30 townships surrounding Algonquin Provincial Park on May 3, 2004.
Protection measures for the wolves of Algonquin Provincial Park include:
still permitted to harass, capture or kill wolves or coyotes in protection
of their property and farm animals.
- A permanent
ban on the hunting and trapping of wolves and coyotes year-round
in the 39 townships surrounding Algonquin Provincial Park. (The
inclusion of coyotes in the regulation is essential to ensure
the wolf killing prohibition is enforced. This measure reduces
the likelihood of accidental wolf kills as it is difficult to
distinguish between an Eastern Canadian wolf, a coyote and a hybrid
of the two).
- A ban on the
chasing of wolves or coyotes with dogs, both in the park and in
townships surrounding the park
- Adding the
Eastern Wolf to the new list of Species at Risk in Ontario as
a Species of Special Concern, which is consistent with its national
designation given by the Committee on the Status of Endangered
Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC)
- The continuation
of wolf research and monitoring to ensure the sustainability of
the wolves in and around Algonquin Park
- The developement
of a provincial wolf management strategy
are two species of wolves in Ontario:
Gray wolf (Canis
wolf (Canis lycaon)
(published by 15 scientists in the Canadian Journal of Zoology,
Volume 78, 2000) concluded that the Eastern Canadian Wolf is distinct
from the more numerous Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) and more closely
related to the Red Wolf (Canis rufus), which is on the brink
of extinction in the southeastern United States.
is the largest area in the world where the Eastern Canadian Wolf
Due to the
lower frequency of coyote hybridization, the park may hold the purest
remnant population of red wolves in the world.
Park wolf population
On May 3rd,
2001 the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada
(COSEWIC) listed the Eastern
Canadian Wolf as a Species of Special Concern because of characteristics
that make it particularly sensitive to human activity or natural
events. COSEWIC is a National Committee with representatives from
the federal and provincial governments, private agencies and individual
Since the mid
1960's the park wolf population has been cut in half.
Wolf research in
Algonquin Provincial Park
Doug Pimlott, former
Director of Environmental Studies at Innis College, Toronto and
one of Canada's foremost conservationists, began wolf research in
Algonquin Provincial Park in 1959. The research was continued by
John and Mary Theberge in 1987, making it one of the longest, most
intensive wolf studies in North America.
The research revealed
some unfortunate but important news about the Alqonquin wolf
there is a high probability that these wolves have been in decline
for the past 11 years and that the decline has been severe.
last estimated the park population to be 150-170 wolves or 30-35
Prior to the moratoriumís
implementation, 2/3 of wolf deaths were due to hunting and trapping
outside of the park. As many as 40 wolves died this way in just
one year. Many wolves leave the park during the winter in pursuit
The Theberges study
found that pup production and reuse of den sites was lower, increasing
the vulnerability of the population.
Half of the wolf
packs in the park have territories that extend beyond park boundaries,
which is why the creation of a permanent buffer zone is so important
to their survival.
According to an Earthroots
survey recently conducted by Oraclepoll Research of Sudbury, 90.4%
of Ontarians support permanent protection for species at risk like
the Eastern Canadian wolf (Algonquin wolf).
For more detailed information
about wolf research in Algonquin Park, consider purchasing John and
Mary Theberge's book, Wolf Country. Proceeds from sale of the
book support Earthroots' Wolves Ontario! Project. See left sidebar
Wolf Advisory Group (AWAG)
In 1998, then Minister
of Natural Resources John Snobelen appointed the Algonquin Wolf
Advisory Group (AWAG) to recommend a long term Adaptive Management
Plan for the wolves with the goal of reducing human-caused wolf
mortality. On January 15th 2001, the committee's recommendations
were posted to the electronic Environmental Bill of Rights registry
for a two-month public comment period. The central and most contested
feature of the report was the suggestion to merely limit the hunting
and trapping season in 37 townships surrounding the park. A full
year round closure on hunting and trapping wolves was only recommended
for 4 of the 37 townships. These townships: Finlayson, McClintock,
Livingstone and Airy border the south gate of the park. Killing
the wolves within these townships would affect the success of the
popular public wolf howl.
On November 6th, 2001, Snobelen announced a 30-month moratorium
on the hunting and trapping of wolves in the 39 townships immediately
surrounding Algonquin Provincial Park. This came after over a year
of campaigning by Earthroots' Wolves Ontario! Project.
Dr. John Theberge was critical of this short-term decision - "The
timeframe for the ban, limited to 2 ‡ years, is still not long enough.
It is not long enough for a significant population recovery; ultimately
a permanent ban must be implemented."