Ontario is home to 2 species of wolves, the Eastern Wolf (Canis c.f. lycaon) which is most commonly found in central Ontario eastward into Quebec, and the Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) which is most commonly found in Northern Ontario and the Matawa homelands. The Eastern Wolf, sometimes referred to as the “Algonquin Wolf”, can weigh between 20-30 kg (44-66 lbs) with reddish-brown fur. Sometimes called the “Timber Wolf”, the Grey Wolf is often larger than its Eastern cousin weighing between 14-70 kg (30-154 lbs), with fur most commonly ranging from grey to black (can also include brown and white). Grey Wolves hunt in packs for moose, deer, beaver, caribou and even elk and bison where available. Ma’iikan requires large, continuous habitat; young wolves may leave the pack and travel 80 to 800 km.
Did you know… despite the physical and DNA differences both these species of wolves have some strikingly similar characteristics. They are social animals that typically live in packs which consists of groups of 6-10 related canines. They practice what’s call cooperative breeding, where the alpha male and female (AKA the alpha pair) are the designated breeding couple; this practice ensures that the pack does not end up with too many litters of pups that may not survive when food/prey may become scarce. The pack also participates in cooperative hunting, together the group members pursue their chosen prey in single file and then spread out for the kill. These hunting skills and techniques are passed down from generation to generation. Four Rivers is currently working with several Matawa member First Nations on trail camera programs to gather information on our local wolf populations. If you come across a trail camera (gray box mounted on a tree) while out on the land, please leave it undisturbed and connect with your local Lands & Resource office or Four Rivers for more information!