Eastern Wolf Fact Sheet

The eastern wolf is a smaller form of the gray wolf. Recent genetic analyses have shown that it contains both red wolf and coyote genes.  

Eastern Wolf – Sub-species Canis lupus lyacaon


Latin name: Canis lupus lycaon
Taxonomic group: Mammals (terrestrial)
Risk category: Special Concern
Range: Great Lakes and St. Lawrence regions of Quebec and Ontario
Year of designation: January 2001
Eastern Wolf Description:
The eastern wolf is a smaller form of the gray wolf. Recent genetic analyses have shown that it contains both red wolf and coyote genes. It has a fawn-coloured pelt with long black hairs on the back and sides, and a reddish colour behind the ears. Adult males weigh between 25 and 35 kg, (55 to 80 lbs) and females weigh between 20 and 30 kg, (40 to 66 lbs).  
Eastern Wolf Biology:
The Eastern Wolf sub-species canis lupus lyacaon preys on white-tailed deer and moose, as well as on caribou in the northern part of its range.
Population and Distribution of the Eastern Wolf:
The eastern wolf is found mainly in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence regions of Quebec and Ontario. Its current range covers approximately 210,000 km2, (130,494 square miles) which represents 42 % of its original range in Canada. Its distribution and taxonomic classification (whether it is a species or a sub-species) are currently under review.The number of eastern wolves is estimated at 2,000 individuals, 1,000 of which are breeding adults, spread among 500 packs. The highest population densities are found in southwestern Quebec and southeastern Ontario, particularly in Algonquin Park. Although the species has disappeared from the more populated, southern portions of its range, and although some local populations are being hunted at unsustainable levels, the species’ overall abundance seems to have remained relatively stable over the past decade.
Eastern Wolf Habitat:
The eastern wolf inhabits deciduous and mixed forests in the southern part of its range, and mixed and coniferous forests further north.
Eastern Wolf Threats:
Mortality caused by human activity, such as hunting and trapping; roadkills; industrial, agricultural and residential developments; as well as the abundance of prey, are the main limiting factors for eastern wolves. Recent genetic studies have also demonstrated the possibility of hybridization between eastern wolves and coyotes, which could be a long-term threat to the sub-species’ genetic integrity.
Eastern Wolf Protection:
Currently, 5.1 % (at least 500 km2) of the habitat area occupied by the eastern wolf in Canada is protected in parks and reserves . REFERENCES:
Van Zyll De Jong, C. G. and L. N. Carbyn. 1999. COSEWIC Status Report on the GRAY WOLF, Canis lupus arctos (NT and NU populations) and Canis lupis lycason (ON and QC populations) . Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. 53 pp.

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