The Strategy for Wolf Conservation in Ontario (2005) establishes the provincial policy for the conservation and management of wolf populations, including goals, key objectives and strategies. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, and the regulations made under that Act specify the rules and seasons associated with hunting and trapping wolf and coyote across the province. Hunters and trappers are required to be licensed and must adhere to the relevant open season dates and bag/possession limits or quotas. Trappers are required to report all harvest. In central and northern parts of the province (i.e. Wildlife Management Units 1-42, 46-50 and 53-58), hunters are required to have a wolf/coyote game seal and must complete a mandatory harvest report.
As a result of the species evaluation assessment by the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO), the Algonquin Wolf (formerly referred to as Eastern Wolf) has been re-classified from ‘Special Concern’ to ‘Threatened’ status under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA). Currently, Ontario is proposing regulatory amendments to O. Reg. 242/08 under the ESA in relation to the changes to the Species at Risk in Ontario List (www.ontario.ca/environmentalregistry and search 012-8105).
A large portion of Ontario’s known Algonquin Wolf population is concentrated within Algonquin Provincial Park, where hunting and trapping of wolves and coyotes has been prohibited since 2004. This prohibition also includes 42 surrounding townships. The hunting of wolf/coyote is also currently prohibited in a number of other provincial parks, including Kawartha Highlands, Killarney, Killarney Lakelands and Headwaters, French River, and Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands.
To help support the protection and recovery of Algonquin Wolf, it is proposed that hunting and trapping of wolf and coyote be prohibited in three additional core areas where Algonquin Wolf is known to occur. This proposal addresses wolf and coyote collectively within these core occurrence areas because they are difficult to visually distinguish from other canids (Gray Wolf, Great Lakes-Boreal Wolf, Eastern Coyotes, Hybrids) due to their similar appearance (coloration, markings and overlap in size). As such, the following regulatory changes are being proposed under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act:
• Amendments to Ontario Regulation 670/98 (Open Seasons) to close hunting and trapping seasons for wolf and coyote in three additional core areas where Algonquin Wolf is known to occur, which include:
o In the area of Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, which includes the geographic townships of: Anstruther, Burleigh, Cardiff, Cavendish, Chandos, Harvey, and Monmouth;
o In the area of Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park, which includes the geographic townships of: Anson, Dalton, Digby, Longford, Lutterworth, Minden, and Ryde;
o In the area of Killarney Provincial Park, which includes the geographic townships of: Allen, Attlee, Bevin, Burwash, Caen, Carlyle, Cox, Curtin, Dieppe, Eden, Foster, Goschen, Halifax, Hansen, Humboldt, Killarney, Kilpatrick, Laura, Roosevelt, Sale, Secord, Servos, Struthers, Tilton, Truman, and Waldie.
o Note: a link to a map showing these areas is provided below
• Amendments to Ontario Regulation 665/98 (Hunting) may be required to reflect potential season closures and consequential administrative cross-references in Ontario Regulation 670/98 (Open Seasons).
This proposed interim approach is intended to provide clarity around the protection and management of Algonquin Wolf in Ontario while the requirements under the ESA are being undertaken, including a science based-recovery strategy and a government response statement.