Wildlife research and monitoring

How Ontario manages wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Wildlife research and monitoring program

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) operates a wildlife research and monitoring program.

It is staffed by scientists who design and deliver studies and programs that help to provide diverse, healthy, sustainable wildlife populations and habitats for the benefit and enjoyment of all Ontarians.

Their research areas include:

  • waterfowl and wetlands
  • small mammals, furbearers and game birds
  • large mammals
  • species at risk
  • landscape ecology
  • wildlife diseases, including rabies

MNRF scientists collaborate with many partners, including:

  • other government agencies
  • non-profit organizations
  • universities and colleges
  • industry

Our scientists

Learn more about a few of the projects our scientists are working on right now.

Jeff Bowman studies how changes in habitat brought on by changes in climate (e.g. drought, floods, wildfires) influence different animal populations in Ontario, including lynx, fisher, marten and mink. 

Dennis Donovan leads the rabies research team that has reduced the occurrence of rabies in Ontario by over 99% in the past 20 years.

Joe Nocera explores the factors that affect the nesting site selection of the black tern. The number of black terns has been declining over the past 5 decades and the species is now defined as one of Special Concern. Joe also examines why populations of aerial insectivores (birds that feed on flying insects) are declining dramatically.

Martyn Obbard monitors the movement and foraging patterns of adult female polar bears in James Bay, where changes to the sea ice are happening faster than anywhere else in the Hudson Bay region.

Brent Patterson looks at the coyote in southern Ontario with the goal of determining what measures can be taken to control their population growth and reduce their conflict with people and livestock. Brent also investigates forest-dwelling caribou and the reasons they have become a “threatened” species.

Dean Phoenix and Ken Abraham are producing an inventory of animals and plants of the Far North of Ontario. This will help with community based land use planning and development of the Far North Land Use Strategy.

Bruce Pond and Brent Patterson are looking at ways to control the white-tailed deer population in Ontario, specifically through hunting. The goal is to maintain the number of white-tailed deer at a level that is sustainable.

Rick Rosatte monitors elk populations in four locations in Ontario. The goal is to better understand elk behaviour, which will help to manage the species.


To view a complete list of publications authored or co-authored by our research scientists, check out our bibliography.

If you want to get a copy of a publication, contact the journal directly or email Pam Sullivan.

Updated: August 10, 2015