Wolves can be a bit Coy

Wolves can be a bit Coy


So, four years ago, as a volunteer at the
University of Montana Zoological Museum, we got a call from Montana Fish, Wildlife and
Parks about a gray wolf that had been hit by a car — and, as many of you still fondly
remember, we filmed aspects of the preparation process: skinning it, and gutting it… You know, all the pretty parts. This was because I really wanted
to show you guys how museums turn road-killed animals into valuable research specimens. That was also the series where I also accidentally
misdialed Lenscrafters – which maybe became one of the funniest things to ever happen
in the history of The Brain Scoop. Those videos gave us a chance to talk about
anatomy and physiology- so while I dove into its stomach contents to figure out what it
was eating, we didn’t really get into any questions that that specimen could help us
answer. I also didn’t even talk about the incredibly
complicated history of wolves and people, or the important role wolves play as top predators
in their ecosystems. It’s nearly impossible to know where to
begin with this subject: wolves are some of the most highly studied animals on our planet,
and the relationship between wolves and people itself is prehistoric. There’s an overwhelming amount of information
out there, to the point I nearly scooped my own brain out just trying to research for
this episode. One of the most confusing things is trying
to figure out just how many different kinds of wolves are in North America today, and
how distinct each of those kinds really are. So for the sake of needing a starting
point for this video we’re recognizing gray wolves, eastern wolves, and red wolves as
distinct types in the U.S.- and Mexican wolves, Arctic wolves, and great plains wolves as
populations, or subspecies, of those three. The conflict between wolves and people has
been called “the longest, most relentless, and most ruthless persecution one species
has waged against another.” In the 2003 book Wolves, the authors put it
this way: “To many humans, this animal is the ultimate
symbol of wilderness and environmental completeness. To others – for example, a Wyoming rancher
or an Italian shepherd – it represents nature out of control, a world in which the rights
and needs of rural people are subjugated by city-dwelling animal lovers intent on imposing
their conservation values on others.” …and they’re not wrong. The animals in this episode are small parts
of a huge, complicated story we’re going to tell about American human and scientific
history, and ethics – endangered species, and philosophy – and what the future looks
like when we try to fit the messiness of nature into neat, legal boxes. And when I mean messy, I mean… we got kinda
messy with this one. Let’s go. Before Europeans began settling
across the United States – before they were even called the United States – this was a
country of diverse, Native peoples and abundant wildlife – including wolves. Wolves were spread across North America, with
an estimated population of around 380,000 individuals. But pretty much as soon as the ‘Pilgrim
Fathers’ arrived in the early 1600s, so did their efforts to eradicate wolves – as
they had just exterminated the wolves in England and across Europe. Human-wolf conflict is an ancient story: depending
on which cultures and periods you’re looking to, people either saw wolves as totems and
positive symbols of strength (like in many Native American cultures, and historically
the Celts and the Greeks) – or they saw wolves as evil creatures to be removed from the face
of the planet at all costs. Such was the case with America’s settlers
in the early 1600s. At that time the conflict between wolves and
people rose from a number of factors, including fears based off of Old World myth and folklore
– but the protection of livestock was one of the biggest reasons in justifying their
removal. Wolves attacked and ate cows and sheep while
their natural prey – bison, deer, and elk – were depleted by settlers to make room for
grazing livestock, and to feed growing human populations. And sometimes, like with the eradication of
the American bison in the western United States – prey animals were killed in staggering numbers
for fun, as it seemed like nature’s bounty was endless. The continual hunting, trapping, and poisoning
of wolves- largely encouraged by offering bounties, and government-supported extermination
programs – continued in the United States for nearly four hundred years, until by the
mid-1960s only a single population of gray wolves remained in Minnesota and Michigan. It’s likely we would have hunted the wolf
to extinction in the United States, were it not for the creation of the Endangered Species
Act by Richard Nixon and congress in 1973. Grey wolves were listed a year later, in 1974. Larry Heaney: Forty, fifty years ago– there
were almost no wolves at all anywhere in the lower 48 states. Emily: That’s Dr. Larry Heaney. He’s a curator of mammals here at The Field
Museum. Larry: In the early 1970s, there were maybe
200 wolves in the Great Lakes area. They had been completely eliminated by the
anti-predator programs in the U.S. Emily: As wolves were eradicated across
the continental US between the mid-1800s to mid-1900s, their former territories opened
up and coyotes were given an opportunity. Wolves tend to kill but don’t eat the coyotes
they encounter in the wild, so it’s a wise coyote that avoids running into a wolf pack. But in the absence of their top predators,
coyotes began spreading out across these newly unoccupied habitats, leaving western grasslands
to occupy eastern deciduous forests. Unlike wolves, coyotes aren’t seen to be
as threatening to people, maybe because they’re smaller and don’t travel in packs, so they’ve
avoided persecution in large numbers. And compared to wolves, coyotes are inconspicuous,
and more difficult to spot and hunt: I suppose you could say they’re wily. And they’ve have an incredible ability to
adapt to cities– which are all factors that have contributed to the success of this species. After the Endangered Species Act protection
of grey wolves their population numbers began to rise, and individuals spread out from southern
Canada and Minnesota. But this was not necessarily accomplished
by a slow distribution: wolves can cover a lot of ground. See, in order for a wolf to have the highest
chance for succeeding in a pack, it needs to establish its own territory, otherwise
it’ll constantly be competing for food resources. Therefore, wolves practice a strategy called
directional dispersal, meaning they move away in a single direction from their birth pack-
and the distance can be immense. Larry: It was the young males that were dispersing-
sometimes hundreds, maybe a thousand miles out into territory where there were no wolves. Emily: Some wolves have been recorded as
far as 550 miles away from where they were born. Since the wolves in the lower 48 were essentially
gone, as these new packs began spreading out from northern territories, two particular
kinds of wolves- the red wolves, and the Eastern wolves – didn’t encounter female wolves…
they encountered coyotes, an animal they would typically kill. But without the option to mate with other
wolves – because there were no wolves – these wolves bred with coyotes instead. Recent research has found that wolves and
coyotes in North America diverged from a common ancestor about 50,000 years ago, which really
isn’t that long when we’re talking about the history of a species. Since wolves and coyotes are still genetically
similar, they’re able to produce offspring that are fertile themselves. And here is where things really start to get
complicated, BUT FIRST. Genetic studies based off of museum specimens
tell us an enormous amount of information about the evolutionary history of any number
of groups: for example, North American canids. That genetic material is in the form of tissue
samples taken from each individual specimen when they’re prepared for the collection,
and then placed in little vials and kept in cryogenic storage tanks, frozen in liquid
nitrogen. Study of the evolutionary relationships and
history of species is called phylogenetics, and it uses data collected from specimens
in museums, including the study of their sequenced genomes, to build evolutionary trees. A genome is the complete genetic material
of an organism. The genomes from several wolves and coyotes
in a recent study has allowed scientists to look at information from 1,000 ancestors of
these populations from 20 generations of wolves and coyotes- resulting in thousands of years
of historical information. In this way, genomes are like time machines,
helping us to understand evolutionary ancestry. But a genome can only tell us so
much: other questions are answered by looking at individual specimens. The Field Museum has one of the largest collections
of full wolf skeletons in the world. For a time, mammalogists believed that most
questions about an organism could be answered by looking at its pelt and its skull alone
– not always examining the other bones in its body. And that’s pretty convenient, ‘cuz big
skeletons take up a lot of space in drawers, so they could store more specimens if they
only kept the skull. It’s also true that examining a skull’s
unique characteristics like teeth and inner ear bones, as well as its overall shape and
size, can help scientists differentiate one species from another. Here at The Field Museum, assistant collections
manager and taxidermist Tom Gnoske has been taking in animals like wolves and coyotes
for decades. These specimens, with their pelts and complete
skeletons, have provided important information for recent studies. And they help us understand the transformations
of native dogs in north america over the last tens to hundreds of thousands of years. He recently invited me up to the prep lab
to see for myself. Emily: Can you talk a little bit about the
process of making a case skin, and why we decided to go that route instead? Tom: It’s sort of a traditional taxidermy
– and, one being that you’d leave the claws in on the one side- and you’d leave the
last digit with the skeleton on the other side, so that you’d get the maximum potential
benefit or use out of each specimen. Some of those things we were just doing because
it may be valuable to somebody. Emily: What is really separating these two,
and making them “different”? Tom: Where you really see that is when you
look at domestic dogs. Even the dog that you may think is tall- they’ve
got very significant proportional difference to a coyote and a wolf. But when you see them with their skin off,
they’re like machines. Their ligaments and their tendons are massive,
their nails are massive, their teeth are massive. You see – in the process of preparing them-
and you do enough of them, you start to see patterns over- like, over the first twenty
of them, I started thinking, god, these are really different than domestic dogs. Emily: We have got a ton of footage of
the skinning process for these two specimens and we’re going to post that in a separate
video because we know how much you guys like that stuff, but first we have got to get up
to date on the status of wolves and coyotes. In 2012, US Fish and Wildlife published a
monograph detailing just how many different kinds of wolves had lived, or now live in
the United States, because honestly the literature on the topic is all over the place. Up until that point, the most comprehensive
reviews had determined 2 species of wolves – the gray wolf and the red wolf – and between
8 and 27 different subspecies in North America. Like, talk about a lack of consensus, but
this review in 2012 confirmed that a proposed third species – the eastern wolf – was unique
enough to be valid, too. Although now… that may no longer be the
case. A paper published last year looked at the
genomes of both red wolves and eastern wolves, and discovered that these two types have more
coyote DNA than wolf DNA in them. The authors argue, red and eastern wolves
are not distinct lineages of wolves: what makes them unique is that they’re hybrids. The genomic study showed that eastern wolves
were really just half gray wolf, half coyote- the red wolves were comprised of 75% coyote
DNA. There are real-world consequences for this
confusion. Government protection right now in the US
are based on clear, definite taxonomy, and right now, there is no clear, definite
taxonomy. The Endangered Species Act has no policy for
hybrids. Even if hybrids were recognized, how much
DNA from an endangered species would you need to qualify for protection? Half… or a quarter? Twelve percent? And it’s impossible to prevent hybridization
from occurring in the wild without concerted efforts to manage these, uh, encounters. Maybe
in this case, hybridization is simply a natural response to the dramatic changes we’ve inflicted
on the ecosystems of both coyotes and wolves. Larry: Legal systems don’t do well with
complexity. Emily: (laughs) No. Larry: They don’t do well with change. Emily: What does that mean for conservation
and research? Larry: A couple of examples: the Upper Peninsula
of Michigan is recognized as having wolves. The lower peninsula of Michigan has animals
that look a lot like wolves, and sound like wolves, and function like them to a pretty
fair degree — but they probably are thirty, forty, maybe fifty percent coyote. There had been research done by the Michigan
DNR up to the point of discovering that they were significantly hybridizing with coyotes. And at that point – because of the way the
state laws and budget restrictions are written – they could not do any more research on them,
because they’re not wolves. They’re hybrids. Emily: So you get the results back and it
says, congratulations, you have a wolf-coyote hybrid- and then it’s just like a hot potato? They’ve just got to drop it and walk away? Larry: Apparently, that’s the way — at
least to some significant degree – that’s the way that it’s worked. Emily: If the ESA doesn’t recognized hybrids…
then what are we really protecting? The wolf we skinned in Montana had more ‘pure’
grey wolf DNA than the red wolf and the eastern wolf, but it’s the Mexican wolf subspecies
that has the lowest amount of genetic diversity because they’re largely inbred through captive
breeding programs in an effort to retain that genetic purity. And those programs have seen a lot of success,
too. The Brookfield Zoo in Chicago is
one of many agencies involved in a captive breeding and reintroduction program for the
Mexican wolf- so, we went to go talk with the zoo’s associate curator of mammals, Joan Daniels,
about their involvement in the project. Joan Daniels: We built our new exhibit around
the recovery program for the Mexican wolves, and brought them in 2004. Emily: So, how is the population doing today? You said it’s been doing a lot better than
it has been historically. Joan: It is doing a lot better but it’s
because of the recovery program, and the effort of zoos in both Mexico and the United States-
and the reintroduction program that was started in the late 1990s has now become so successful
that there’s close to a hundred wolves that have been reestablished in Arizona and New
Mexico. Emily: So, do you see this kind of model as the
future of establishing populations, or reestablishing populations? Joan: It’s a really good model, and as you
said in North America we have a number of wolf subspecies that are endangered- and
having them out of the environment, really affects the environment. We need wolves in our ecosystems. Emily: But just because red wolves and eastern
wolves have a good amount of coyote DNA in their genes doesn’t mean they’re not worthy
of protection, too: after all, a portion of their genetic makeup is from a species that
remains endangered, at least in numbers. Today, there are no population numbers of
wolves in the U.S anywhere near what they were pre-eradication; in 2015, U.S. Fish
and Wildlife estimated there were around 5,500 wolves in the lower 48 states. And in January, they proposed an updated recovery
plan for the last 50 red wolves in North Carolina – so there are still conservation efforts
moving ahead. The complications in this situation are bred from the same issues that resulted in the elimination of wolves in the first place- and that is,
for better or worse, we are trying to control nature, either through the directed elimination
of a species, or by the strict management of it’s population growth. Hybridization events continue to crop up in
wolf populations around the U.S. faster than can be detected through monitoring programs
and genomic studies. Because the legal framework for protection
for these animals is so rigidly based off of very clear taxonomic lines that don’t always
exist, movement or progress in any direction within that structure is difficult, if not
completely impossible. Despite hitting walls when it comes to securing
research funding for studying hybrids, or an inability to draw legal boundary
lines around a species’ protections, one thing is certain: the stream of science is
relentless. Larry: Science attempts to tell us what is. Science doesn’t deal with what “should”
be. That’s a decision that we make. Science provides us with information. We then decide what to do with that information. These are issues that we are going to have
to grapple with as a society- and decide how we’re going to modify our rigid laws, which
– in order to be clear and applicable – have to be rigid. Emily: Hey! This episode of The Brain Scoop was produced
and directed by Brandon Brungard and Sheheryar Ahsan, with production assistant help by our
intern Laurel Tilton, and it was written and hosted by yours truly. We had collections access and research help
from Larry Heaney, Tom Gnoske, Kayleigh Kueffner, Lauren Smith, Caleb McMahan, Roland Kays,
and Gretchen Rings. We had help here at the Brookfield Zoo by
Sondra Katzen and Joan Daniels- and The Brain Scoop is brought to you by The Field Museum
in Chicago, Illinois. I think I got everybody! … it still has brains on it.

100 thoughts on “Wolves can be a bit Coy

  1. thx for this awesomely ha bisky vid wolves are such adorable puppies but you cant keep more then one as a pet because one of them might try to over throw the pack and well maybe if we didnt kill so many of them that wouldnt be the case

  2. This was fantastic. The Grey Wolf has been one of my favorite animals since childhood. You did an amazing job of concisely summing up the history of their populations and conservation. Dr. Heaney providing that poignant epilogue and the artistic direction of the video was truly some of the best production I've seen you guys create. Wonderful job, Emily! (and the rest of the Brain Scoop crew, too)

  3. at 3:30 when you talk about killing Bison for sport, you mention that it was thought they were limitless in number. Is it within the scope of this channel to talk about the intention of the US government in the 1800s to destroy the livelihood of native people who depended on the buffalo populations? I would love to learn more about the history of the buffalo and get into the insides of one while we're at it.

  4. Watched this episode after listening to the No Dumb Questions episode you were on and I have to say, so much more than 25k people should watch this!

  5. No Dumb Questions brought me here. This is a pretty good product and is full of good information. I'm glad to see that it has reached more than 25,000 people!

  6. I've seen this channel suggested a few times but I've never actually dove in and watched anything on here before. But after the episode of No Dumb questions you were on I decided I needed to watch this video (and the taxidermy world championship one) and I'm happy to say that I'm very impressed and I'm going to be watching your videos going forward 🙂

  7. Nice one! Seeing any species in dangerous is really sad, even more if the animal is so amazing as wolfs. In Spain we have the Iberian lynx that is a beautiful wild cat also in real danger. I hope that society puts their shit together and does the right thing to preserve wild species.

  8. Just listened to your No Dumb Questions colab, which I found thoroughly enjoyable and earned you my subsciption. Your work is fantastic, interesting and important. Thank you!

  9. Heard about this video from Matt and Destin's No Dumb Question's when Emily was a guest. I've been a long time subscriber but somehow missed this one. Great video. Thank you for describing the intricacies of this dilemma.

  10. Fantastic production on this one! I love the style and flow, it makes the information engaging whilst also very easy to digest.

  11. I want more of this kind of content… So much more, I also would really like to help with the research. and like stuff.

  12. I lost my shit at 13:20 – 13:32

    All I can think about is Tom Gonoske talking about how big and powerful these animals are and then cut to this image of the wolf howling, pausing, looking down, and eating fuckin snow. What a doof, I love him.

    "First I do the howl, then i lick the ground"

  13. Came here from No Dumb Questions. I completely agree that this video is under rated. You deserve way more views.

  14. Wolves are deeply social and intelligent. They have cooperative hunting cultures which involve idiosyncrasies of individual packs passed down through generations. Gordon Haber was sort of a Dian Fossey of wolves and is a really good read if you're a wold geek. 🙂 Though his book is rough, since he focuses on the effects of trapping on families of wolves.

  15. You guys should have picked a darker colour for those fake bloodstains on Emily's lab coat.

    Dried bloodstains are actually very dark. I'm actually surprised nobody on the team said anything, I'm sure somebody must have known.

  16. Your day on the No Dumb Questions podcast helped me find you. The wolf is often the center of heated debate here in Alaska.

  17. First off, I didn't realize how few wolves there were. Second, seems to me a case can be made to legitimize cloning of endangered species.

  18. I really blame on the humans they just messed it up you just hate their own cattle they don't eat the wild kind so kind of felt like a little kid and you killed it somehow you can't fix it.

  19. Underrated video indeed. I got curious about it (and the entire channel) from NoDumbQuestions podcast, and it turned out really great! I cannot over-appreciate the effort put in this video. Wish you luck, Emily!

  20. I referenced this video for an essay about wolf reintroduction debate for college. Thanks so much for this informative channel!

  21. Let me listen watch this if they are like old so I'm not trying to be mean by calling or not whatever Rover gobble spoiler alert to the video rules came from America we will build a wall tag Donald Trump and shout out to Donald Trump basically kind of amazing for being a president right now I would expect you are amazing amazing kinda

  22. Sometimes the best way to control a thing is not write a new law. They told you why, I agree with them there. The government sees two choices, yes & no, on & off. It does not want to get involved in grey areas. That is important to remember.

    The second point is that science is a tool. It never tells us should we stop these populations from intermingling, it tells you IF they are. We the people must then decide what is best to preserve what God has given us. If we look at anything in this world as a never ending supply, we are bound to come up short. We have to be honest with our short comings. A tool is only as good as the craftsman. Science or laws are tools, we should be more careful handling them.

    The world is what you make it to be, now more than ever. As we get better at getting exactly what we want from this planet, we can do great good & great harm. Science will not give you a moral set of beliefs about IF you should kill animals you do not like. It will tell you what how to kill them, or how to preserve them. Government cannot tell you to be fair, & will always be slow to act. I would never want any species to go extinct directly because of us, but I am sure it will continue until we mend our ways.

    We are the care givers. We are responsible. I rarely talk about what government can do, because I realize what we should do. If we truly had a heart to care, you would not need government intervention. I pray God turns hearts of stone to hearts of flesh.

    God Bless & good show!

  23. A friend recommended me this channel and I'm so incredibly happy to see that this video covered this topic so thoroughly and correctly. Really a treat to watch.

  24. I did a dive recently into researching North American gray wolf species. The matter seems far from settled. There are two competing theories for the NA extant species in the genus Canis, the 4 species model (Grey Wolves, Eastern Wolves, Red Wolves and Coyotes) and the two species model (grey wolves and coyotes). It seems like genetic analysis suggesting coyotes split from grey wolves very recently is contradicted by fossil evidence and hasn't been resolved (though they are still similar enough to produce fertile offpsring) and coyotes did not move into the eastern areas of the U.S. where red and eastern wolves lived until human eradication of grey wolves opened up the opportunity to them. Meaning the coyotes have only been recently hybridizing with the wolves there and were not instrumental in the origin of the species themselves. So a separate eastern and red wolf species did exist at some point as documented in the fossil record, and for eastern wolves still exists in Ontario where the species is the most "pure", but their genetics are becoming muddled with coyotes now due to lack of mates. For example there was a rebuttal published to that study documenting percentages of wolf and coyote DNA in eastern and red wolves that suggested hybrids were all they ever were, and then just in June 2017 a rebuttal to that rebuttal. It's very interesting.

  25. It is becoming increasingly clear that hybrid swarms are a typical part of the speciation process as organisms adapt to changing conditions. New conditions, such as those created by human alterations, creates slightly different niches than the preexisting ones. I suspect that neither Coyotes nor pure wolves were really adapted to modern east coast habitats. However, the 3-way hybrid found in the NE is even expanding into highly urban habitats like parts of New York City. Evolution is not a mechanism were speciation is a simple branching , but a messy tearing apart of populations that often leaves dangling threads connecting them.

    Quirky thought: should laws written to protest humans still apply to Neanderthal hybrids?

  26. call me squeamish but anything involving dogs or wolves being skinned really gets to me… especially when she cut off it’s nose!

  27. I wonder if the large-skulled Kenai Peninsula wolf which went extinct early in the last century could have actually been a relic population of Beringian wolves (an extinct species from the Pleistocene adapted for hunting mammoths).

    On another note, the whole hybrid zone situation in the eastern US and Canada is mirrored in the Sinai Peninsula, where there appears to be a three-way hybrid zone between grey wolves, African wolves and golden jackals.

  28. We live in a world where the right wing of GOP "solved" the Polar Bear problem and took them off endangered species list by reclassifying them as water animals. So someone out there is comfortable with change to regulations. All you have to do is convince GOP wolves have lots of money and want to invest it in the oil industry.

  29. What the fuck did you kill that had orange blood? Alex Jones was right we have aliens in the white house!!!!!!!!!

  30. That Buffalo totally has the look on its face like "are these Indians really trying to sneak up on me with some dead wolf skin? PUHLEEEZ!" 3:04

  31. Man… imagine being one of those wolves. A few generations ago, a random species came around and killed everyone, but then they started breeding more of you. And then they let you loose in a wolfless wasteland, and you wandered alone searching for a mate. You never find anyone, never find any trace of your own species for 500 miles, at which point you finally give in and marry a coyote. The coyote tells you of how they've adapted to this post-apocalypse, how they've learned to coexist with humans. And then your hybrid children walk out into that same wasteland, unsure of where they fit in the grand scheme of things.

  32. Why have aquarium (pet) “Albino” fish become so prolific? 50 years ago you found NO albinos. 30 years ago in the hobby 1 in 1000 fish store fish were albino. Now all species in the stores have albinos in the tank. I include the “NEON GLO LITE” fish as albinos. (Pink eyes) I would love to see you do a video on this. I assume it is inbreeding but it may be deliberate. In 20 more years will ALL pet fish be albino?

  33. I hang out with Grey Wolves, Mexican Grey Wolves and Coyotes everyday! So excited to see a video highlighting our wonderful native canids.

  34. I really LOVE this episode and thankful the title managed to grasp my attention. This really captures part of what I really gotta learn from science that I am exposed to more facts and just how the world works, no matter how complex and new and foreign these ideas are to me, leading myself to learn more different complexity and so to see life more complex than before <3 Love it!

  35. In the Netherlands we also killed all wolfs in the earlier days….but…they are coming back ! It is believed that two already chosen the Netherlands as their home country again !

  36. This is an old video, but having the few years to sit on this and think about it, I came to this conclusion: if it looks like a wolf, and acts like a wolf…

  37. Endangered species act of 1973… Never thought I would say this but Nixon just became one of my favorite presidents. Joins Kennedy for the man on the moon speech. Et al.

  38. dont forget that mass killing of bison wasnt strictly for "fun", the US govt specifically encouraged depleting bison herds as a way of starving out nomadic Native Americans.

  39. You should see hybrids up around me… They are getting crazier & crazier…

    If this continues, we will lose both coyotes & wolves!

    I've never feared a coyote or wolf, or even worried slightly about either, the hybrids though… That's a different scary story, I've been stalked many times, they wanted to kill us but I killed it 1st.

    Most seniors/disabled/young around report being frequently stalked, even attacked. Bigger dogs on leashes with big adult men are being attacked & killed without hesitation. Pets are frequently disappearing & being killed.

    We can either stop this now before people have to die, or wait until people die & deal with it! We can't ignore this issue. Coyotes want nothing to do with people, wolves might be curious but rather be far from people usually. Coywolves have no fear, see humans as prey items, are bigger, smarter, faster, etc.

    People have no clue how bad it is, I've traveled these areas all my life, never thought a coyote or wolf was anything to talk much about. Until the last few years & the coywolves invasion!

    Trust me, you've not seen sadness quite like an old lady holding the mangled remains of her best friend who was just ripped to pieces in front of her eyes & still attached to the leash.

    It's almost as if the wolf habit of killing any coyote, has been turned into kill any dog. They almost never actually eat the big dogs. Just kill & mutilate, unless very hungry. They willingly eat cat, rabbit, poultry, etc.

    Adam

  40. As to protection laws, I see no need for them for eastern coyotes. There are buttloads and more buttloads of them and it shouldn't matter if they have 5% wolf or 50% wolf, they all intermix and interbreed over and over and round and round and are for all intents and purposes big coyotes with color phases and big ass coyote paws. Even a big one from NB Canada has typical coyote face and ears and typical coyote paws rather than thicker face of a wolf, shorter ears, and bigger paws of a wolf. On the other hand I handled a 41-42 pound eastern in Maryland that needed the muzzle widened on the head form and had thicker than normal front legs. I also have the skull of the roadkill in my user pic and she was a big gal. One of the biggest eastern coyote skulls in my collection. I could not weigh her alas, she was really stinking and needed to be laid to rot on my rural land ASAP. I am so happy the skull was not damaged when she was hit.

  41. Great video by the way. Something I wanted to address though is the reason for the spread of coyotes. Coyotes it turns out were also heavily persecuted during but mostly after the exteripation wolves from most of the lower 48. There were widespread attempts to kill them off not just through hunting but also through trapping and poisoning; same as with the wolves. While it was and is possible to kill many coyotes at a time in a given area, the animals are capable of increasing their reproduction rate in order to offset the loss of members from their population. Essentially coyotes are able to maintain a population at or very near the environment's carrying capacity pretty much at all times. This is something that wolves were incapable of doing as are all other species of mammals that I'm aware of. As far as their spreading into areas where there previously were no coyotes at first European contact; it is my understanding that coyotes are very good at determining locations which happened to be uncolonized or uninhabited by their species. So through the removal of wolves and being pressured by humans they were essentially forced to spread out into areas that previously did not have them. Lastly I don't think there is any need for fear of potentially wiping out coyotes because it is essentially impossible. I have read that one would need to systematically remove upwards of 80% of the population in a given area in order to have a net loss in that area over the course of an entire year. They would then have to maintain that high level of elimination in that same area in order to prevent recolonization from outside as well. All of this of course doesn't even take into account the fact that the animals that typically hang on the longest in a population are generally the smarter more fit ones who are better adapt at avoiding somebody trying to kill them. I will conclude with saying that aside from the fact that it seems we would be unable to eliminate coyotes from the landscape I also believe that we should not try to do so.

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