Tags: coywolf | coyote | wolf | hybrid | population | grow

Coywolf, a Coyote-Wolf Hybrid, Sees Population Boom in Northeast

Image: Coywolf, a Coyote-Wolf Hybrid, Sees Population Boom in Northeast
(Wikimedia Commons)

By    |   Monday, 09 Nov 2015 08:08 AM

The coywolf, a hybrid canine descended from coyotes, wolves, and dogs, has seen its population increase throughout the Northeast over the last few years, and now it numbers in the millions.

"The DNA coywolf has inherited from man’s best friend may have counteracted its wolf instinct to avoid humans, some scientists believe, allowing it to spread and thrive among the people and noise of urban areas, where it can now commonly be found," explained the Christian Science Monitor this week.

After being identified and referred to as the eastern coyote by researchers in the 1960s, biologists are nowadays seeking to learn why the rare hybrid species has been so successful, as evidenced by its booming numbers.

In late October, The Economist reported that, among many things, "wolves faced with a scarcity of potential sexual partners are not beneath lowering their standards," and bred with species similar but not congruent to its own.

"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 publication wrote.

Typically, hybrid species are less successful than either parent species, however the new coywolf has been described as "extraordinarily fit" and an exception to the rule.

"We’ve known for a while that most Eastern coyotes are hybrids to some degree, and now we’re finding a greater degree of hybridization than anyone expected," Javier Monzón, an evolutionary biologist at Pepperdine University, told The Washington Post last year.

In a paper published about the coywolf, Monzón determined that Coywolves are about 62 percent coyote, 27-percent wolf, and 11-percent dog.

Unlike wolves, which tend to stay away from humans, coyotes and coywolfs are much more comfortable infiltrating suburbs and other areas where people are plentiful. In recent years, there have been increased reports of the coywolf in places like Washington, D.C., and New Jersey.

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The coywolf, a hybrid canine descended from coyotes, wolves, and dogs, has seen its population increase throughout the Northeast over the last few years, and now it numbers in the millions.
coywolf, coyote, wolf, hybrid, population, grow
315
2015-08-09
Monday, 09 Nov 2015 08:08 AM
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