An Analysis of the Historical Records for the Native Mammalian Fauna of Prince Edward Island


  • Douglas G. Sobey Research Associate, Institute of Island Studies, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 4P3



historical records of mammals, mammalian fauna, Prince Edward Island, Grey Wolf, American Marten, Atlantic Walrus, Woodland Caribou, Moose, Beaver


A search was carried out for historical records, both published and unpublished, that make reference to the native mammalian fauna of Prince Edward Island. Based on documents dating from 1721 to 1890, a comprehensive list of the records for the native mammals of the island has been compiled. Among the new information found is evidence for the presence of the Grey Wolf (as well as the Woodland Caribou) at the time of the first French settlement in 1720, and for the absence of the Beaver and Moose. Historical information has been assembled on the abundance and food-chain relationships of each of the mammalian species, as well as on their interactions with the European population, including the attitudes of the new settlers towards each species. The records indicate that seven of the mammals were extirpated: the Grey Wolf, American Black Bear, American Marten, River Otter, Canada Lynx, Atlantic Walrus and Woodland Caribou. All of these extirpations were due to the activities of the European population, with the attitudes of the settlers contributing to four of them: an indifference to the survival of the otter and Marten, and a direct hostility to the bear and lynx (due to their predation on livestock), leading to the payment of bounties.