Eastern Wolf – Canis lupus lycaon
The Eastern Wolf is a distinct species even though many people mistake it for a subspecies of the Gray Wolf or the Red Wolf. Science has been able to prove that it is closely related to them but not at that level. This is a small to medium sized wolf with a light brown or reddish coat. They are very close in appearance to the well loved Husky dogs of Alaska as well.
They also have some longer hairs found in the coat that are usually black in color. As an Eastern Wolf gets older they will develop more of these long black hairs. They are often mistaken for coyotes due to their coloring and their build.
Most of them are found throughout Canada as well as in the United States around Mississippi. Today many of them live on a refugee in North Carolina. This is the result of a reintroduction plan that has been very successful so far with this type of wolf as well as several others.
The most common location of Canada where you will find the Eastern Wolf is around the Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. They do have very large home ranges that they follow. It is believed that many packs of Eastern Wolves follow the migration of the White Tail Deer as a way to make sure they have plenty to eat, especially in the winter months.
These wolves are very dependent upon the social aspects of their pack. They are quite loyal to each other and will do all they can to keep other packs of wolves out of their territory. This is why you will often hear them howling frequently out there in the wild. They are most active at night but they can also be seen out during the day.
The Eastern Wolf is able to consume a diverse type of diet. Sometimes they will hunt on their own but most of the time they will hunt with their pack. Some of the items they hunt alone include rodents, beaver, and muskrat. Those that they hunt with their pack include deer and moose. In some instances they have even been able to successfully kill a Black Bear.
While the young are fed regurgitated food like with other types of wolves, the pack doesn’t leave some adults behind to protect them. Instead the pups are placed into a dent or other location to keep them safe until the rest of the pack returns. Should the young venture out on their own for adventure there is a very good chance they will be killed by other animals.
The alpha and the beta will mate in February, with the young being born about two months later. The female will retreat into a den and not come out until her pups are a couple of months old. She can have from 4 to 7 pups per litter.
The Eastern Wolf has been known to mate with different types of coyotes in their areas. This is a concern because it can definitely affect the overall genetics of this particular species of wolf. This type of behavior is very interesting due to the fact that most species of wolves will aggressively run off coyotes.
Most of the conservation efforts for them is done by the Coalition to Restore the Eastern Wolf, commonly referred to as CREW. Their goal is to ultimately increase the number of Eastern Wolves residing in the United States.
There have been quite a few problems in Canada due to the Eastern Wolf getting into livestock areas and killing them. As a way of retaliating many farmers and ranchers have started to hunt them even though it is illegal. Others are believed to be intentionally laying poison where these wolves will find it.