Species at Risk
Why protect the Eastern Wolf?
The Eastern Wolf is an important part of La Mauricie National Park’s ecosystem. It feeds on prey like deer and moose, helping keep populations of these large herbivores at natural, balanced levels. This helps maintain both the diversity and richness of park vegetation and, as a result, the ecological integrity of the park’s entire forest ecosystem
What is Parks Canada doing to save the Eastern Wolf?
To meet the challenge of protecting the Eastern Wolf, La Mauricie National Park is currently focusing on research, monitoring and education.
In partnership with the Université de Sherbrooke, La Mauricie National Park conducted a major study from 2000 to 2003. Researchers followed 16 radio-collared wolves around a 3500 km2 study area to better understand how these elusive animals live. The study area included lands inside and outside the park.
Findings confirm, among other things, that there was enough prey and habitat in the study area to meet the needs of the two wolf packs and even permit population growth. Yet when the wolves travel beyond the boundaries of the park, they are trapped or shot at a rate that will likely result in population declines. Their survival therefore depends on cooperation from stakeholders in the region.
Using information gathered through the research program, Parks Canada is taking steps to ensure the survival of the Eastern Wolf, particularly by:
- developing a conservation strategy for protecting Eastern Wolves inside and outside the park; and
- creating and implementing an education program about the importance of wolves to the region’s forest ecosystems, in order to change people’s perceptions of the wolf.
Hopefully, Eastern Wolf populations will stabilize and even grow in and around La Mauricie National Park once the conservation strategy is implemented.
In the meantime, the two wolf packs in and around La Mauricie National Park are still being monitored. Parks Canada is seeking to understand how the wolves use their habitat inside and outside the park, and to determine the long-term impacts of human activity on these populations.
In addition, the Eastern Wolf is now considered to be an indicator of the ecological integrity of La Mauricie National Park. In other words, the condition of wolf populations will be used as an indicator to determine the health of the park’s ecosystems.
Eastern Wolf Study in La Mauricie National Park.
© Parks Canada / J. Pleau / 05.51.10.08 (38) / 2000
The park is also continuing to educate local communities and visitors through its Eastern Wolf education program. Developed in collaboration with Info-Nature Mauricie, an association that works in cooperation with the park, the program includes exhibits, interpretative activities, publications and conferences. An educational kit for Cycle 3 (grade 5 and 6) elementary school students is also available on request and is provided free of charge to schools.