Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hybrid Coyotes?

Writing in Outside, Elizabeth Royle on the question of safety and a new type of coyote :

Cape Breton Highlands rolls over 366 square miles of elevated forest and open swale. About 100 eastern coyotes make their living inside the park, though the animals have inhabited it only since the 1980s. The coyote evolved as a hunter of small mammals in the Great Plains, but within the past half-century the species has expanded its range to the entire lower 48 and to every Canadian province. "We're among the last places to get them," says Derek Quann, the park's resource-conservation manager. In Quann's park, the animals eat hare and small rodents but, working in groups in the deep snows of late winter, have also been known to take down 1,200-pound moose—an astonishing feat, considering that western coyotes neither hunt in groups nor prey on anything larger than sheep or calves. Wolves, however, routinely do both, which raises the question: What exactly is an eastern coyote?

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