Photo credit: J.D. Taylor



"Threatened" means the species lives in the wild in Ontario, is not endangered, but is likely to become endangered if steps are not taken to address factors threatening it.

Date added to the Species at Risk in Ontario List

The Eastern Wolf was listed as special concern when the Endangered Species Act, 2007 took effect in 2008, and was renamed Algonquin Wolf (Canis sp.) and re-classified as threatened on June 15, 2016.

In 2021, the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario adopted Eastern Wolf (Canis sp. cf. Lycaon) as the name for this species to better reflect the outcome of discussions regarding genetics. This change was reflected on the Species at Risk in Ontario List on January 25, 2023.

Read the assessment report (PDF).

What it looks like

The Eastern Wolf is a member of the canine family. The Eastern Wolf is larger than a Coyote and smaller than a Grey Wolf. Proper identification requires genetic data as it is difficult to visually distinguish due to its similar appearance (coloration and markings) and overlap in size.

Where it lives

The Eastern Wolf is not restricted to any specific habitat type but typically occurs in deciduous and mixed forest landscapes. It is found to be most prevalent in areas with abundant prey, such as Beaver, White-tailed Deer and Moose along with low levels of human-caused mortality. Den sites are typically found in conifer dominated forests close to a permanent water source. Suitable soil to construct a den, such as sand, is necessary for excavation.

Where it’s been found in Ontario

Ontario’s Eastern Wolf population is estimated to be fewer than 500 mature individuals. A core concentration of Eastern Wolf can be found in Algonquin Provincial Park and surrounding townships. Eastern Wolf is also found in other areas of central Ontario, including in and around Killarney Provincial Park, Kawartha Highlands Signature Site, and Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands. Populations of Eastern Wolf outside of Algonquin Park are small and relatively isolated.

What threatens it

The Eastern Wolf faces a variety of threats including human-caused mortality, such as hunting and trapping, road-related mortality, and residential housing development causing habitat loss.

Action we are taking

It’s difficult to distinguish the Eastern Wolf from other species. Because of this we are prohibiting hunting and trapping of wolves and coyotes in the core Eastern Wolf occurrence areas.

When outside of these areas, you are exempt from s. 9 of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 while hunting and trapping Eastern Wolf, as long as you’re in accordance with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 and its regulations.

Download a map (PDF) showing the core Eastern Wolf occurrence areas where hunting and trapping of wolves and coyotes is prohibited.

What you can do

Report a sighting

Submit your observations of species at risk to the Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC) , which is Ontario’s conservation data centre. Join the Centre’s “Rare Species of Ontario ” project in iNaturalist, an online plant and animal identification app, to make submitting your observations quick and easy.


Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.

Be a good steward

Private landowners have a very important role to play in species recovery. If you find species at risk on your land, you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats, such as the Species at Risk Stewardship Program.

Report illegal activity

Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-866-MOE-TIPS (663-8477).

Quick facts

  • Ontario is home to the majority of the global range for the Eastern Wolf. It is also found in Quebec.
  • Hunting and trapping mortality has decreased significantly, due to a ban in townships adjacent to Algonquin Provincial Park.