Category Archive 'Eastern Coyote'

19 Mar 2017

“Unprecedented and a Totally Isolated Incident,” He Said

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CNN:

A rising Canadian folk singer was killed by coyotes this week in a national park in Nova Scotia, a park spokesman said Thursday.

Taylor Mitchell, 19, was at the beginning of the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park on Tuesday afternoon when she was attacked, according to Chip Bird, the Parks Canada field unit superintendent for Cape Breton.

Bird said hikers saw the coyotes attacking Mitchell and called 911. She was airlifted to a hospital in Halifax, where she died about 12 hours later, he said.

Mitchell was recently nominated for Young Performer of the Year honors by Canadian Folk Music Awards. She was touring the Maritime provinces and had a break between gigs to go hiking Tuesday, her manager, Lisa Weitz, said in an e-mail.

“She loved the woods and had a deep affinity for their beauty and serenity,” she wrote.

“Words can’t begin to express the sadness and tragedy of losing such a sweet, compassionate, vibrant, and phenomenally talented young woman,” Weitz said.

“Her warmth, loving nature, astounding artistry, and infectious enthusiasm will be so missed and forever remembered.”

Mitchell, who was originally from the Georgian Bay area in Ontario, lived in Toronto, Weitz said.

Bird said the area where the attack occurred is popular and well traveled. It remained closed, and park authorities had shot one coyote believed to be involved. A pathologist will test the animal’s body for diseases that might have triggered the attack, he said.

Searches for other aggressive animals in the park continue, he said.

“Public safety is our primary concern,” he said.

He said no other coyote attacks had ever occurred in the park. “We’ve had coyotes approach people too closely,” he said, and about six years ago one nipped a person.

That animal was killed because of “lack of fear,” he said.

But Tuesday’s attack is “unprecedented and a totally isolated incident,” he said.

100 years ago, human beings engaging in recreational activity in wilderness areas inhabited by large predators would normally be armed. Not today.

31 Oct 2015

Eastern US Has a New Species

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Coywolf

The Economist discusses the pedigree of the now-ubiquitous Eastern Coyote.

It is rare for a new animal species to emerge in front of scientists’ eyes. But this seems to be happening in eastern North America.

Like some people who might rather not admit it, wolves faced with a scarcity of potential sexual partners are not beneath lowering their standards. It was desperation of this sort, biologists reckon, that led dwindling wolf populations in southern Ontario to begin, a century or two ago, breeding widely with dogs and coyotes. The clearance of forests for farming, together with the deliberate persecution which wolves often suffer at the hand of man, had made life tough for the species. That same forest clearance, though, both permitted coyotes to spread from their prairie homeland into areas hitherto exclusively lupine, and brought the dogs that accompanied the farmers into the mix.

Interbreeding between animal species usually leads to offspring less vigorous than either parent—if they survive at all. But the combination of wolf, coyote and dog DNA that resulted from this reproductive necessity generated an exception. The consequence has been booming numbers of an extraordinarily fit new animal (see picture) spreading through the eastern part of North America. Some call this creature the eastern coyote. Others, though, have dubbed it the “coywolf”. Whatever name it goes by, Roland Kays of North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, reckons it now numbers in the millions.

The mixing of genes that has created the coywolf has been more rapid, pervasive and transformational than many once thought. Javier Monzón, who worked until recently at Stony Brook University in New York state (he is now at Pepperdine University, in California) studied the genetic make-up of 437 of the animals, in ten north-eastern states plus Ontario. He worked out that, though coyote DNA dominates, a tenth of the average coywolf’s genetic material is dog and a quarter is wolf.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Robert Laird.


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