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

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Coyote Filmed Playing Ice Hockey With Bottle in Central Park

Wildlife photographer Bruce Yolton, who runs the Urban Hawks blog, shot a video Monday night of a coyote (well, really a coywolf) playing hockey with an empty bottle on the pond near the southeast corner of Central Park. That’s right, the coyote coyote who was up at Columbia University earlier this month maybe went further south in the park, right on the edge of midtown and the Plaza Hotel. You can see the coyote lick the bottle, as if hoping for a last drop of food. And he’s close enough to the street that you can see emergency lights flashing on the ice.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLZdBVZhOrA&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01]

Yolton is known for stalking the park at all hours and getting incredible wildlife shots–often keeping them secret for months so he doesn’t attract crowds that disturb wildlife. He’d reported in early February that a coyote was in the park. He thinks this coyote may have discovered the peninsula that sticks out into the pond and is a preserve.

Often when a species is off wandering on its own, it’s a young male looking for new territory. In March 2006 another young male coyote made a media spectacle of himself in Central Park; one year old Hal was finally caught, then died in captivity from a combination of stress, heartworm and rat poison. Let’s hope this one quietly makes it back to the Bronx.

Where to See Wolves and Coywolves

How You Can See Wild Animals Even in New York City

To see more

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Coyotes Trot Around Columbia University; Panic Ensues

Three coyotes were spotted trotting around Columbia University in upper Manhattan this past week. The Ivy League university put out a public safety warning for all students to be on the lookout for the canines. DNAinfo says these sightings were Wednesday; Gawker puts it at Sunday.

Three animals identified as coyotes were observed in front of Lewisohn Hall [116th Street and Broadway] this morning, 911 was contacted and NYPD responded. NYPD spotted one of the animals and confirmed it was a coyote. The one coyote that was seen by NYPD and CUPS went behind the CEPSR build and it is believed exited the campus.An additional sighting by CU facilities was called in approximately 10:00 AM this morning but was not confirmed. All members of the community are advised not to approach these animals.

There’s a bit of a breathless freak-out online, but many New Yorkers have been wiser, pointing out they could help with the rat and pigeon problems. They’ll figure it out and go back to New Jersey or Westchester or wherever they’re from. (Columbia is within a mile or two of five smaller bridges to the Bronx.) They must be pretty unobtrusive to have made it all the way to Columbia–through some of the most densely populated areas in the country–without anybody noticing.

As a wildlife rehabber, I sometimes get calls from New Yorkers about raccoons. The raccoons aren’t in distress; people just assume they must be in some kind of trouble to end up

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Enjoying Your Local Coyotes (or Coywolves)

stealth cam coyote

My family in Illinois shares theories and gossip about the resident coyotes. Living in New York, I miss out. So I wanted to contribute to the family pastime when I visited over Christmas. The new tools this year: a game camera and Suburban Howls from John Way of the Eastern Coyote Research. The camera is great to see what’s going on at night, but Way’s book was exactly what we need to figure out what was going on.

My sister Mary Ann has been tracking these coyotes–really coywolfs–the longest. Like many animal-watchers, she gives them names based on their appearance or behavior, such as Fluffy, with the thick coat. Fluffy had pups this spring and in the fall a friend found the den in a thicket.

Last year I got Mary Ann a motion-activated camera designed for hunters, which she more or less ignored. Ok, she claims to have put it out but got nothing but raccoon pictures. We could see in the snow that two compost mounds were clearly high-value real estate in coyote-world. They had tons of tracks and pee. We set the camera there and got a picture the first night.

But without some knowledge of coyote world, we didn’t know how to explain what was going on. That’s where we really need Suburban Howls. Way does a great job of synthesizing the body of knowledge on eastern coyotes or coywolves and describing his own research and findings. We had theorized the coywolves liked the mounds

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Meet the Coywolf, the New Canine Predator of North America

You can spend thousands of dollars watching wolves in Yellowstone or $50 – $200 to get a much closer and scientific view of the new canine species that is replacing the wolf: the coywolf. And if you’ll have trouble getting to Cape Cod by dusk or dawn, you can even stay in the house of wildlife biologist Dr. Jon Way so he can take you out to see the animal he studies.

Way can take you along for field work when he’s using his radio collars to track the animals that are laregely taking on the role of predator across the east, where the wolf was wiped out. He describes his accomodations as “rustic casual:” you sleep in the basement and eat with his family. But the real attraction is the coywolf  and Way, one of its strongest advocates. He is pushing to change the way the coywolf is classified and treated.

Some state wildlife agencies (in the mid-Atlantic) have been treating these coywolves, which are conspicuously larger than western coyotes, simply as an invasive species from the west. They appeared after the wolf was wiped out. Invasive (as opposed to native) means they don’t belong and were introduced by humans. The invasive designation means about the only management these new coyotes get is hunting by the federal government through its controversial Wildlife Services agency. Even in states where it’s not labeled invastive, there’s no bag limit and long hunting seasons–something Way wants to change.

“We should not be

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Wolves and Bear Find Shelter with Chicagoland Biology Teacher

Big Run Wolf Ranch, Lockport, IL

Three species of wolves (British Columbian, Arctic and Grey Timber) interact intermingled in three different pens. Biology teacher Julie Basile and her husband John (who founded the ranch 18 years ago) track their interactions and move them to different groups when they see there’s trouble coming, either in the form of too rough dominance fights or mating season. Once secluded, the ranch is now crowded by houses and planned businesses. But the ranch is still growing. They visit schools or have nearby scouts and school groups come visit and learn about wolves. The wolves jump up and lick their caretakers.

In addition to the wolves, the Basiles have taken in other animals that need help and a place to live. Wildlife officials came to John in 2000 with a 20 pound black bear cub that someone had bought at a flea market for $200 and tried to raise in an apartment until neighbors thought better of the idea. They would have euthanized the bear, now known as Kuma, that day, but the ranch took the bear in and built a proper enclosure, pool, shower and hibernation hut. Kuma likes to show off to crowds and wrestles with John.The ranch also has several shy coyotes, wild cats, horses, dogs, peacocks and a rescued descented skunk. Kirby looks different than a wild skunk because he’s a domesticated variety and he smells different because he’s been descented. He’s friendly, cuddly and instintively holds

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