|The presence of wolves is a good indication that our natural spaces are healthy.|
Wolves are an important part of our ecosystem, and contribute to Ontario’s rich biodiversity. The presence of wolves is a good indication that our natural spaces are healthy.
Ontario's wolf populations are found from the southern edge of the Canadian Shield north throughout the boreal forest and Hudson-Bay Lowlands. Wolf sightings south of this area (e.g., southern Ontario) are rare.
Wolves are shy and generally avoid humans. However, they can lose their fear of humans if they learn to associate us with easily available food. When this happens, wolves may be seen in daylight hours and may approach camping areas, homes and people.
Seeing a wolf is a memorable experience. Aggressive behaviour toward people is unusual, but you should use caution when a wolf is close.
Responsibility for managing problem wildlife on properties
- Landowners are responsible for managing problem animals on their property. For example, if there are wolf problems on municipal property it is the municipality’s responsibility to deal with them.
- The Ministry of Natural Resources helps landowners and municipalities deal with problem wildlife by providing fact sheets, appropriate agency and animal control services referrals, and information necessary to obtain authorizations where required.
- The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act sets out the legal actions property owners can take to deal with problem wildlife. Generally, landowners or their agents may capture, kill, or harass problem wolves to prevent damage to their property. Anyone who kills a wolf in protection of property is urged to report it to the local ministry office. Those living in most of northern and central Ontario – Wildlife Management Units 1-42, 46-50 and 53-58 – must immediately report the killing of a wolf or coyote in protection of property to their ministry office.
Homeowners can take steps to ensure wolves aren't attracted to their property and to keep their pets safe. The Ministry of Natural Resources has these tips for the public.
If you encounter a wolf
- Do not approach it to get a better look, entice it to come closer, or harass it.
- Do not feed it.
- Leave room for it to escape.
If a wolf approaches you or acts aggressively (growls or snarls)
- Raise your arms and wave them in the air to make yourself look larger.
- Back away slowly while remaining calm; do not turn your back on, or run from, a wolf or any other wild animal.
- Make noise and throw objects at the wolf.
- Use whistles, personal alarm devices or commercially available pepper spray (effective only at short ranges) to frighten an approaching or threatening animal.
Keep pets safe
Cats and small dogs may be seen as prey by wolves, while larger dogs may be seen as competitors. To avoid these situations consider the following suggestions:
Feed pets indoors.
- Do not allow pets to roam. Wolves may try to kill a dog or a cat when given the opportunity.
- Walk your dog on a leash at all times.
- Do not leave pets unattended outside unless they are in a kennel with a secure top; wolves can jump into fenced yards, and dogs confined by chains are vulnerable to attack.
- Spay or neuter your dogs. Wolves are attracted to, and can mate with, domestic dogs that have not been spayed or neutered.
Secure garbage and minimize attractants on your property
- Properly store and maintain garbage containers.
- Put garbage at curbside the morning of the scheduled pickup, rather than the night before.
Use enclosed composting bins rather than exposed piles. Wolves are attracted to products containing meat, milk and eggs.
- Do not feed wildlife such as deer to prevent attracting wolves to your property; remove deer food and salt blocks.
- Keep pet food indoors.
Prevent predation on livestock
- Barns or sheds can provide effective protection from wolf predation for livestock that bed inside or nearby at night.
- Remove bush and forest cover that can help conceal predators like wolves from all active pastures.
- Consider electric fencing to help deter wolves and other predators.
- Guard animals, such as donkeys, llamas and dogs can be a cost-effective way to protect livestock from wolves. Guard animals will develop a bond with livestock if they are slowly integrated and will aggressively repel predators.
- Well-lit yards or the use of motion-sensitive lighting may make your property less attractive to wolves and other nocturnal wildlife.
For more information on preventing livestock predation, please visit the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs website.
- To learn more about wolves, including how to deal with wolf problems, call the Ministry of Natural Resources office that serves your area.
- If a wolf poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety, call 911.