Species at Risk
The Eastern Wolf of La Mauricie National Park of Canada
Canis lupus lycaon
What is the Eastern Wolf?
© Parks Canada
of Eastern Wolves, a sub-species
of the Grey Wolf, are found in southeastern Ontario and southwestern Quebec.
includes La Mauricie National
Park of Canada.
The Eastern Wolf is fairly small and fawn-coloured, with black on its back and
sides, and red-brown behind its ears. In the Mauricie region, male Eastern Wolves
stand about 80 cm at the shoulders and weigh around 40 kg, while females measure
about 75 cm at the shoulders and weigh approximately 30 kg.
The Eastern Wolf needs large areas of forest- either deciduous,
or mixed- to survive. It is a shy mammal, easily disturbed by
human presence and activity.
In May 2001, COSEWIC
listed the Eastern Wolf as a subpecies of special
concern because it is so vulnerable to human activity.
In the Mauricie region, Eastern Wolf territories range from 500 to 700 km2. That means La Mauricie National Park's 536 km2 (which is almost 320 times the size of Montreal's Olympic stadium), cannot possibly sustain two wolf packs. The wolf packs that currently include the park in their territories use only portions of the park.
The Eastern Wolf is an important part of La Mauricie National Park’s
It feeds on prey
like deer and moose, helping keep their populations at sustainable levels. This
helps maintain both the diversity and richness of park vegetation, and the ecological
integrity of the entire forest ecosystem.
Two wolf packs, with 5 to 10 members each, currently roam the small, 536 km2
national park. Yet their movements often take them beyond the park’s boundaries,
where they are no longer protected.
Eastern Wolves often fall victim to trapping, hunting, and road traffic. They
are timid and easily disturbed by logging and recreational activities. Critical
continues to be lost to agriculture, the timber industry, and urban expansion.
Many people have misguided perceptions about wolves. Some are afraid of wolves.
Others view them as predators
that threaten livestock and wildlife like deer and moose. People often don’t
realize how important wolves are to ecosystem health.
© Parks Canada
To meet the challenge of protecting the Eastern Wolf, La Mauricie National
Park is currently focusing on research, monitoring and education.
A major study, carried out in partnership with the Université de Sherbrooke,
followed 16 radio-collared wolves around a 3500 km2 study area to
find out how these elusive animals live. The study area included lands inside
and outside the park.
Findings confirm, among other things, that there is enough prey and habitat
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 regional collaboration.
Using information gathered through the research program, Parks Canada is taking
steps to ensure the survival of the Eastern Wolf, including:
developing a conservation strategy for protecting Eastern Wolves
inside and outside the park; and
creating 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 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 wolf populations.
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, conferences, a poster, mural, brochure, educational kit, and
more. It will soon be delivered to schools as well.
© Parks Canada / Jaques Pleau
POSITION: Ecosystem Scientist
LOCATION: La Mauricie National Park of Canada, Quebec
I started my career at Parks Canada in 1987 but my passion for wildlife began well before
that. I coordinate the research and monitoring of wildlife and habitats in La Mauricie National Park of Canada
- a job that I find captivating on both a professional and personal level.
In my current position, I work closely with species at risk, most particularly with the
wood turtle in La Mauricie. This reptile has captured my attention because it has been designated a species of
special concern by COSEWIC. Our progress toward the recovery of the Park's population of this species is the
direct result of our work with partners over time. The conservation measures that have been undertaken by the
park and community will strengthen the health of our natural areas and help the wood turtle, as well as other
species at risk in the area.
In the years to come, I hope to implement the management and protection measures that have
been identified as vital factors in ensuring the survival of species at risk. For nearly 17 years, this
conservation mission and the challenges it represents have fuelled my professional and personal passion