We often forget that the natural world is in constant motion outside of our concrete jungles we call cities, but one opportunistic species has adapted to not just survive but thrive in rural and urban environments. This highly adaptable canine has been walking alongside us watching us and learning from our behaviour for close to 100 years but what is it? What is the coywolf?
A coywolf (pronounced “COI”-“WOLF”) or sometimes called an eastern coyote is a hybrid canine that has a mix of coyote and wolf in its D.N.A, more specifically it is the result of a western coyote mating with an eastern wolf. What makes coywolves so interesting is the fact that they are a prime example of nature continuously adapting and taking advantage of what is available, but to really understand what these coywolves are we must first understand where they came from. When the early settlers came to what is now Ontario in Eastern Canada, they started to cut down trees for farming and homesteading. With the wolves old stomping grounds becoming farm land they now had new available food sources, so the eastern wolves being opportunistic started doing what they do best. HUNT. But the wolves were hunting the new arrivers live stock, and this obviously caused big problems with the settlers. These farmers did whatever it took to protect their livestock and started to hunt and trap the wolves putting a huge hit in their numbers. With the arrival of the early pioneers and the deforestation that it took to build their new homes came “dewolfisation” and with the wolf population decreasing there was room for a new contender to move in “The Western Coyote”. Several years go by and these wolves and coyotes are now living amongst each other and just like a lot of things in nature that live within the same territory you are either fucking or fighting. These wild canines decided that love is the answer, but what is so amazing about the whole situation is the off chance that these two different species where able to not only breed with each other but produce fertile offspring that would continue to repopulate with either wolves, coyotes, or other coywolves. There for creating a thriving population of all three wild canines. These animals coexist so well that there have been packs found made up of all species.
Being officially discovered and recognized in Algonquin Park Canada around the year 1919 the coywolf has been a Biological awe ever since. The coywolves are found mostly in eastern Canada but have reportedly been seen in the western provinces as well (still unconfirmed). The coywolf population has also spread down into the northeast region of the United States with several of them living in or around major cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. With coywolves being so accustomed to humans and our behaviour, seeing one of these animals walking down a sidewalk on a main street in not unheard of. These coywolves will use the train tracks as a trail system to get from point “A” to point “B” using the cities as breeding and feeding grounds. They have adapted to the overwhelming presence of humans and use it their full advantage. With such a high presence in urban areas and their population rising there have been attacks on humans and domesticated animals, with some attacks ending fatally. And not to mention who knows what diseases the animal could be carrying, but just like all animals, especially wild ones, you must always keep your distance when confronted by one.
So, what are scientist doing about these canines and their rising numbers? They themselves are trying to figure that out. Coywolves being part coyote have a cool adaptation that allows the females reproductive system to kick into overdrive when a member of the pack is missing. Causing them to mate more than they normally would. They do this by communicating with each other by howling and chirping, this is what is often happening when we hear coyotes late at night or early morning. So, for that reason they are an incredibly hard species to control and conserve. But Scientists are tracking their behaviour and keeping a very close eye on them, so we don’t have a plague on our hands. But who knows that might be what’s next for this planet. DUH DUH DUHHHHH!
Stay wild and Stay curious.