Third Likely Wolf Shot in Newfoundland

Port Blandford Wolf 2014

Port Blandford Wolf 2014

For several months this past fall and winter, a large canid frequented the area around Port Blandford, Newfoundland.  There is no word on whether or not officials from the government of Newfoundland and Labrador knew of the existence of this animal or whether they did anything to protect it.  Wolves are legally protected in Newfoundland because there is no provision for hunting or trapping them.  This is because wolves have been officially extinct in Newfoundland for nearly a century.

On February 5, 2014, the life of this animal came to a tragic and predictable end when it was shot and killed by David Hann when the animal came near him and his dog as he was cutting wood.  Two wolves are known to have been killed in Newfoundland since 2009.  The most recent wolf was killed in 2012 within just a few miles of the animal killed by Mr. Hann.  Both wolves were killed very near Terra Nova National Park where a live wolf was photographed by a trail camera in 2012.  This region is far from Labrador and Quebec where wolves have never been exterminated and far from the ten mile wide Strait of Belle Isle that divides Newfoundland from the mainland.  It is an almost certainty that wolves have crossed into Newfoundland in recent years as the strait freezes solid each winter.

The presence of at least three wolves in very close proximity to each other and so far from Newfoundland’s northern peninsula indicates the likelihood that wolves are naturally reproducing in Newfoundland.  Newfoundland is home to tens of thousands of moose and caribou which would provide ample food for a wolf population.  Moose and caribou densities are far greater than on the mainland.  Newfoundland also has thousands of square miles of area suitable for wolves.

Upon learning of the killing of this animal, on April 18, 2014, MWC sent emails to wildlife officials in the government of Newfoundland and Labrador containing several questions about this animal and wolves in Newfoundland.  We have yet to receive a reply.

For more information and photos, click on the links below:


DNA tests confirmed the animal to be a wolf with DNA that matched wolves from Labrador.  The government of Newfoundland & Labrador claims that the animal came from Labrador and made no mention of the possibility that it may have been born in Newfoundland.  MWC sent several emails to Newfoundland Fish and Wildlife officials asking a number of questions and received no answers.  Because we received no response, in September 2014, we sent a Letter to the Editor to The Telegram of St. John’s, Newfoundland.  It contained the questions that we asked in our emails to government wildlife officials:

  1. How many wolves are known to live in Newfoundland?
  2. Where are they located?
  3. Is there any evidence of wolf packs and/or breeding in Newfoundland?
  4. Was the animal in Port Blandford determined to be a wolf?
  5. If yes, what was its origin?  If no, what was its origin?
  6. The killer of the wolf stated in the press that it had been seen in the area for several months.  Did the government know of its existence and what steps, if any, were taken to protect it?
  7. What efforts, if any, is the government of Newfoundland & Labrador making to educate the public about the apparent natural recolonization of wolves from Labrador and/or Quebec?  What is being done, if anything, to assess the status of, and protect these animals?
  8. Is this the same animal that was filmed in Terra Nova national park?

    We are still waiting for the answers to our questions.

    On September 16, 2014, portions of a recorded interview with John Glowa were aired on St. John’s radio station VOCM.

Based upon the evidence (three known wolves killed in Newfoundland since 2008, wolf range just ten miles from Newfoundland across the Strait of Belle Isle, the very abundant prey and excellent habitat, the locations of at least two of the dead wolves and the location of the wolf in Terra Nova National Park), it appears likely that wolves are becoming established in Newfoundland after an absence of nearly a century.  As moose populations in coastal Labrador grow and expand, wolf populations will grow with them.  As Labrador’s wolf population grows, there will be increased dispersal and some of those animals will cross the sea ice to Newfoundland.

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