Eastern Wolf (Canis lycaon):
Eastern Wolves (aka Eastern Canadian wolves, Algonquin Wolves) are medium sized members of the Canidae family. Once thought to be a subspecies of the Grey Wolf, mounting genetic evidence supports the Eastern Wolf as a distinct species, independent from the Grey Wolf. Eastern Wolves, therefore, are thought to have evolved completely in North America alongside Coyotes, but diverged from coyotes about 150,000 – 300,000 years ago. There is also some genetic evidence to suggest the Eastern Wolf is similar to, or perhaps the same as, the critically endangered Red Wolf (Canis rufus) in the southeastern United States.
Eastern Wolves historically occupied the eastern temperate forests of North America, perhaps overlapping in range with a larger gray-eastern wolf hybrid animal. Settlement of the east brought with it the demise of the eastern wolf, leaving only remnants of its genome in hybrid animals. It has been suggested that Wolves in Algonquin Provincial Park are the best and only current representation of the historic population of eastern wolves. Eastern wolves are currently listed as a species of special concern under COSEWIC and COSSARO, but their status is currently under review and a new status report will be available by April 2013. Eastern Wolves hybridize with both Grey Wolves and Coyotes, making it difficult to identify species in eastern North America. Hybridization with Coyotes is more prevalent when exploitation is high.
Weight: ~20 - 35 kg (44 - 77 lbs); Males are typically heavier than the females
Pelage: Varies from reddish-brown to seal grey
Litter Size: 2-7 pups
Age at Disperal: earlier than Grey Wolves. Earliest dispersal documented at 15 weeks
Pack Size: 2 – 9
Average Territory Size: ~190 km2