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Central Park’s Elusive Coywolf

Coywolf Hill
Coywolf Hill,
This is the kind of distant, lousy glimpse of the Central Park Coywolf you’ll get after much effort.

In other words, he’s not bothering anyone. To see much better pictures, check out Urban Hawks.

Last night I got to see a coywolf in Central Park. I went at dusk to see the coyote Bruce Yolton has been tracking at urbanhawks. After an hour of walking in the slush around the pond near 57th Street, I got to see him or her for a few minutes. So, it’s not as if he’s marauding joggers or stealing hot dogs from vendors. But the big question is whether somebody’s going to panic and demand his capture. Or really,  knowing New York, when.

As Yolton has pointed out on Urban Hawks, his excellent photoblog of NYC wildlife, the coyote seems to be sleeping during the day in the Hallett Nature Sanctuary, the only part of the park off limits to people and dogs, which is surrounded by water and fence. Once again, I didn’t have to be a good enough spotter to see the coyote in the dark, just good enough to see Yolton with his massive lens and tripod. The coyote lurked by the pond edge, then headed back up the sanctuary’s hill, where he could have been seen by anybody on 57th Street. Then he gave us the slip. He’s been spotted in the north end of the park, too.

This coywolf, or perhaps others, have been spotted in Manhattan all month. No one is sure how many there are and if they’re still just passing through or whether they have decided to give Manhattan a go. Coywolf biologist Jon Way has documented this new predator of the east, a hybrid of extripated wolves and western coyotes, heading into downtown Boston. They’re far smaller, more adaptable and accepting of humans than wolves and could be the answer to all kinds of other animal issues, like rats or deer.

Far more pass through than establish a territory, but Way thinks this one could be trying to settle here.
“Remember any habitat that doesn’t have other coyotes/coywolves is available habitat and Central Park would make a fine place for a pair to establish a territory and raise pups,” Way says. “I hope it happens and it’s great news that people are leaving it alone.”

Well, for now, they are.

Where to See Wild Animals Around New York City

Read more about coywolves
Follow Urban Hawks 

Check out the Eastern Coyote Research center

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