Re: “Don’t spread fear about wolves,” Feb 14.
I would like to thank Hannah Barron and the Earthroots organization for their perspective on the Algonquin Wolf and the concern of trappers in general.
Currently, the Algonquin wolf in only identified at the genetic level. For a wolf to be called an Algonquin Wolf, there needs to be a sample of the genetics and traced to a gene on the maternal side of the species. The Algonquin wolf is not distinguishable from any other wolf by any other means. For an Earthroots representative to conclude that the picture of the wolf, in the online posting, is likely an Algonquin wolf species is misleading.
The predator/prey relationship has evolved over thousands of years, and for the last 500 years, hunters and trappers have been a part of the evolution — much longer if you include the Indigenous traditional hunting and trapping. During this time, the hybrid may have evolved into the Algonquin wolf.
After the banning of trapping and hunting in area surrounding the Alqonquin park, the number of large canids did not increase. Your article suggests instead that hybridization decreased and the Algonquin wolf returned to “natural family-based structure” is just a theory-based conclusion.
Furthermore, giving wolves’ human characteristics and then assuming them to follow these characteristics is not evidence-based science. The dynamics within a pack is related to strength and prey, not family characteristics. In the 17 years since the ban, the density of canids (and the number of Algonquin wolves) did not increase.
Non-invasive Algonquin wolf monitoring is wolf scat collection. Unfortunately, scat provides incomplete genetic sequencing and no morphological data, both of which are required to define the Algonquin wolf species. In my opinion, complete DNA sequences and morphological data from trapped or captured animals (representing all areas) within the proposed area are required to draw any meaningful conclusions.
Algonquin wolf genetics may be dependent on the coyote. But its increased presence on the landscape is dependent on it displacing the wolf populations. The area suggested under the ban is wolf territory with beaver, deer and moose the main prey species.
Trappers have a long history of being partners in resource management in Ontario. It is important to consider all users of the land base in future decisions. I could not agree more with the Earthroots statement and to quote Hannah, “it’s time to use evidence-based, effective, ethical wildlife coexistence so we can share the land with the abundant wildlife.”
Fur harvester/trapper, Sudbury
Carmen Cotnoir, in her column of Jan. 30, (‘Algonquin wolf threat worse than bears’), told us that wolves predate on ungulates (moose/deer) to the extent of from 26.6 to 33.5 animals per year as their regular diet.
The coyote is also a major predator of moose and deer, and I suggest that at least as many moose calves are taken annually by coyotes each year. This is partly because moose calves are extremely vulnerable for the first three months of their lives. Moose calves are born about the same time as coyote and wolf pups are being weaned and this weaning requires a lot of food. After weaning, the adult wolf and coyote then start to teach the pups how to hunt.
There are now way more coyotes than wolves, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is to blame to a great extent, in my opinion.
The MNRF staff members are now suggesting that they protect the wolf and coyote in a huge area from roughly Sault Ste. Marie, over to North Bay, to Pembroke, Bancroft, Peterborough and Barrie, because they have reclassified the eastern wolf to the Algonquin wolf and immediately put it on the threatened list.
In my estimation, this will be a deathblow for our moose population within this area, and will assuredly scuttle the deer population, as well.
On numerous occasions, I’ve seen coyotes chasing along beside adult moose, worrying and nipping at their legs and hooves – small chance a cow would have protecting her calf.
You have seen me here, in this column, discussing that it was — and is — wrong for the MNRF to have instituted a special wolf and coyote licence here in the North. By doing so many years ago, it already big-time favoured the coyote over the wolf, and since then, the moose and deer and likely wolf populations have dropped. I have no doubt a correlation graph would show this clearly, as the coyote population especially escalated, the moose and deer populations will have proportionately dropped. Perhaps, similarly, the wolf.
The coyote, being slightly smaller than the wolf, is also more manoeuvrable and is more successful at capturing its prey a higher percentage of the time than the larger wolf, so to do as the MNRF has done, favours the coyote over the wolf. The coyotes are simply out-competing, and now outnumbering, the wolves.
Coyotes have increased in numbers over the past years and are nearly impossible to keep in check as they are smart. Coyotes have far less fear of man, and have and are successfully adapting to urban life, much as the raccoon has, especially in southern Ontario.
A better idea, to my mind, than protecting wolves and coyotes would be to take off the hunting licence required to hunt them in the affected area.
To take some of the funds from the special wildlife fund and pay local trappers councils to put on workshops for hunters and trappers so they can learn the identification differences between coyotes and wolves. This should include proper pelt preparation and handling, and everyone who takes said course/workshop to become valid for a $10 bounty on every coyote harvested thereafter. This would be good for everyone, including the wolf, so that coyote numbers can be reduced. It would also benefit the extremely low moose population, and also help the deer and small game populations to gain back what the coyote/wolf licensing program incited by its inception years ago.
We have a say through the Environmental Bill Registry, and I ask you to go to the MNRF EBR 013-1813 to submit your concerns. Not to do so will be a real blow to all wildlife.
As always I encourage you to contact me if you need further discussion regarding this column or anything outdoors. I can send you the link to either Carmen’s column, which I referred earlier, and I can also give you the link to the MNRF EBR of which I also referred to if it is easier for you. As I have mentioned, for us not to take action will be detrimental for moose and deer especially, but also all wildlife. Protecting the coyote and the wolf in the affected areas will also impact people, their pets and all livestock owners. Submissions to the EBR must be done before Feb. 14, so don’t delay.
John Vance’s column runs every two weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.