Tucker and the Wolf

wolf in Algonquin ParkIt was just last year that we had one of the most interesting wolf encounters we’ve ever had. We were heading out to the parking lot on the snowmobile to go into town for supplies.  When we got to the trail intersection at Little Mink Lake we looked behind us and there stood a wolf watching us.  He was right by the pylon in the trail.  If any of you reading this have been to the Eco-Lodge then you know that you walk right beside it on your way in.  When we stopped to get a photo the wolf moved away a few more metres and then stopped to watch us watching him!  No sense of danger or fear, just amazement by all of us!

This was an Eastern Red Wolf, which are an endangered species.  They are, however, the dominant wolf species in our part of Algonquin Park.  They feed, mostly, on beaver and white tailed deer.  The Algonquin Eco-Lodge is in the territory of this particular pack, and we frequently hear them howling at night.  In the winter it is a lot easier to see evidence of them since they hang out in our area more, due to the deer spending the winters near us.  So we see footprints and scat all the time.  But to actually see one, up close, is still something that gets us excited.

Watching a wolf in Algonquin ParkNow, the funny part of this story.  Since we were doing a run for supplies we had the toboggan attached to the snowmobile.  And Tucker was getting a free ride too.  When we stopped to watch the wolf Tucker was interested too.  He stood up to jump out of the toboggan to go and say “hi”.  Obviously, this wouldn’t be a situation that would end well.  While wolves are completely safe for humans, they do not tolerate other canines in their territory.  They view other dogs (and coyotes) as competition for their food.  So, whenever we know we have wolves near the Lodge building itself we have to keep a closer watch on Tucker and not let him wander off on his own.

As I saw Tucker getting ready to jump out of the toboggan I yelled “sit”.  He just looked at me, considering my request.  The wolf, however, sat!  It was surreal.  We watched him for a few minutes more, but we still had chores to attend to, so we left the wolf there.  Still watching us.