Archive for the ‘coyotes’ Tag

Packs of Gatineau Park: Not quite wolves, not quite coyotes   Leave a comment

October 22, 2015

Eastern coyote was captured and collared by the National Capital Commission.

Eastern coyote was captured and collared by the National Capital Commission. NATIONAL CAPITAL COMMISSION / OTTAWA CITIZEN

The big predators in Gatineau Park have no name. But there are six small packs of them, watching you even when you can’t see them, and traversing great distances in West Quebec.

But the new census of these packs — the first ever — leaves a tricky question: What do we call them?

Wolves? Coyotes? “Coywolf” hybrids? All of the above, probably, as National Capital Commission experts who surveyed the park found a “canid soup” that mixes the genes of wolves and coyotes. (Canids are wolves, dogs and their relatives.)

This is the first real census of wolves and coyotes in the park, conducted with traps, cameras, trackers and DNA analysis.

Image from the study of wolves and coyotes in in Gatineau Park.

Image from the study of wolves and coyotes in Gatineau Park. NATIONAL CAPITAL COMMISSION / OTTAWA CITIZEN

“In general there were potentially six groups in all,” said Christie Spence, the National Capital Commission’s senior manager of natural resources and land management. “Maybe three packs with 15 individuals (in total) of the larger animal, and another three packs of coyotes,” with 10 to 12 individuals in all. Each group ranged from a pair to seven animals.

“That was more than I was expecting,” she said. While the number surprised her, “it doesn’t surprise me as much if you think of them all just using one portion of it, or (living there) just during one time of year.

“This kind of animal has learned to be very wary of people, so I think they see us a lot more than we see them,” she said.

But exactly which species they are remains complex.

Image from the study of wolves and coyotes in in Gatineau Park.

Image from the study of wolves and coyotes in Gatineau Park. NATIONAL CAPITAL COMMISSION / OTTAWA CITIZEN

Most of Canada has grey wolves, alias timber wolves. But there’s a slightly smaller type native around here called the Eastern wolf. It was once common both here and in the Eastern United States, but today lives mostly around Algonquin Park.

And as Eastern wolves fared poorly during the European settlement, they sometimes bred with coyotes, so that the distinction is now blurred.

Image from the study of wolves and coyotes in in Gatineau Park.

Image from the study of wolves and coyotes in Gatineau Park. NATIONAL CAPITAL COMMISSION / OTTAWA CITIZEN

The NCC study found a 72-pound male whose genes were mostly coyote, even though it was far bigger than coyotes are supposed to be. Its mate weighed only 42 pounds, which is more typical for the species. The big male also had some grey wolf genes.

The Gatineau wolves travel long distances.

One collared male, probably a young one, left its pack and followed Highway 148 to farmland near Shawville where it was shot and killed. Another young male with a collar also headed out on its own, travelling west and then north. It’s still active somewhere near Gracefield.

But two others with collars stayed closer to home. They turned out to be a mated pair.

“They had a more tightly defined territory,” Spence said. “They probably spent more than half of their time outside the park, south of the park in the Pontiac region. They went to the (Ottawa) River quite a lot. This was an interesting confirmation of our hypothesis that some of these ecological corridors that connect the park down to the river would be important.”

“They had a den, and that was also outside the park.”

So, do they get protection? Eastern wolves are officially endangered.

“I guess they do when they are in the park,” Spence said. “That’s been part of the thinking in conservation biology for a long time: that protected areas can’t really do the job” unless there’s also protection outside the park or reserve.

In the autumns of 2013 and 2014 the NCC trapped wolves, gathered DNA, measured tracks, and fitted wolves with radio collars.

“People do see them,” Spence said. “At least a couple of times a year people will send us photos of animals that they see. Blurry, from a bit of a distance.”

One park staffer arrived for work at the Visitors’ Centre a month ago “and there was one right on the front lawn.”

Written by Tom Spears, Ottowa Citizen




Wolves, Grizzlies, Coyotes and an Elk… Yellowstone’s Primeval Wonders   Leave a comment

From nomadruss on July 28, 2015

Yellowstone is full of wonders. There are of course the geysers, the splendor of the morning light, and the ancient forests. There is the primeval wonder of what the forest holds. Once in a while, for a short time, the life hidden in the forests reveals itself. I learned one evening of a wolf that had taken down an elk cow and decided to catch a glimpse of such life revealed.

When I arrived on the scene, a grizzly bear had chased a wolf away from its kill. Grizzlies can smell meat from over 2 miles away. The grizzly had sprinted across the meadow, stealing the female elk away. It was enjoying fruits of the wolf’s labor. The wolf was lying in the grass, waiting, hoping to retrieve its kill.

The wolf attempted to get the carcass back, but the grizzly is much too powerful. The wolf was time and again chased away.

As the bear stood over the carcass, the wolf watched.

The bear finally said, I’m going to drag the carcass over here, and bury it. That way others won’t be able to smell it. The wolf could only watch dejectedly. Finally at dusk, the wolf wandered the six miles back to its den.

The following morning a coyote wandered onto the scene.

It too was chased away when it approached too close.

The coyote was wily indeed. Many times it circled close, and was chased away. It kept circling the area in front of the kill, and finally it found a piece it could steal. The angry bear could only watch in disgust.

For some reason the grizzly wandered up the hill for several minutes. It was the coyote’s chance to get a meal. It had the carcass all to itself for a short time.

The grizzly then returned, feeding on the carcass for a second day. By the end of this day the grizzly was blissfully full. It laid on its back, on the buried carcass, paws in the air.

On the third day a younger grizzly appeared on the scene. It too was chased away. Indulging in a carcass seems to require a lot of work.

The younger grizzly wandered across the meadow, but would eventually return.

The big grizzly, having had its fill, wandered up the hill, never to return. The younger grizzly then fed on the remnants of the carcass. The cycle of life was once more complete, and the forest would soon grow dark and secret once again.

Idaho Hunters Begin 3-Day ‘Predator Derby’ Killing SpreeDo   2 comments

From:  The Dodo

Jan.92, 2014 by Melissa Cronin



A controversial wolf and coyote hunting derby that angered conservationists earlier this year begins this Friday at sunrise in Idaho. The three-day hunt is now being held on mostly private land, after it was pushed off government land earlier this year.

The hunt was originally slated to occur on 3 million acres of federal land in the Rocky Mountain town of Salmon, thanks to a permit issued by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). But after a coalition of outraged environmental organizations announced plans to file a lawsuit against the agency to stop the derby, the permit was withdrawn and the derby was promptly kicked off public lands.

But that didn’t stop Idaho hunters. Now, the three-day “Predator Hunting Contest and Fur Rendezvous,” hosted by the group Idaho for Wildlife, will be held on private ranch land and U.S. Forest Service land near the town of Salmon, AP reports. The area is half the size of the original plan and a last-ditch attempt to revoke the land permit, led by conservationists and U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, failed.

The organizers are offering a $1,000 prize to the hunter who kills the most wolves and coyotes. A spokesman for the hunt said that so far, 40 hunters from outside Idaho have committed to participate.

Wolves, long the center of political and environmental conflict, were nearly extinct in much of the U.S. until an aggressive reintroduction program began in 1995. They were finally granted protection under a precursor to the Endangered Species Act in the 1960s. Since then, gray wolves have seen a slow recovery in the U.S. — though their numbers are nowhere that of their historic population.

But that trend may end soon. Approximately 1,600 Rocky Mountain gray wolves were removed from protection in 2011 by Congress, and hunters have been targeting them since. And in June 2013, the Obama administration announced plans to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves across most of the lower 48 states. Many conservationists argue that wolves’ recovery is incomplete, and that the iconic animals still need government protection.



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