Fossils to Genomes: Protecting The Eastern Wolves of Algonquin Park

Linda Rutledge, PhDLinda Rutledge, Research Associate, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University will tell us wolves play a critical role in maintaining a healthy environment. As a top predator, they have the potential to increase biodiversity and restore natural regulation to the troubled ecosystems of eastern North America.

Algonquin Provincial Park is home to one of the most threatened wolf populations in the world. The Eastern Wolf (Canis lycaon) has battled centuries of targeted eradication efforts, resulting in a restricted range (centralized in Algonquin Park) and fewer than 1,000 animals remaining. Unfortunately, human-caused mortality and hybridization with Eastern Coyotes (Canis latrans x lycaon) remain their primary threats of extinction.

Linda’s research uses genetics to non-invasively track Eastern Wolves across the landscape in an effort to resolve more complete patterns of distribution and hybridization to help inform endangered species policy.

Her talk will chronicle the history of wolves in Algonquin Provincial Park and explore the critical requirements for their future persistence.