Coyotes Conquered North America. Now They’re Heading South.

Science|Coyotes Conquered North America. Now They’re Heading South.

New maps seek to update the historical range of ou continent’s toughest canids, which have thrived as other predators experienced decline…“Is this something we should view as a natural expansion, that’s a good thing, or that we should view as an invasive species, that’s a bad thing?” asks Dr. Kays. “In some ways that’s a philosophical question, because in the end, there’s nothing we can do about it.”

 

A Handbook for Ranch Managers Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualIndeed, THE BOOK tells us that “the meek shall inherit the earth.” Every time I think about that I think about coyotes and cock roaches. — jtl, 419

 

“They have to be one of the most adaptable animals on the planet,” said one ecologist who studies coyotes. CreditPerry McKenna/Getty Images

Coyotes are excellent colonizers.

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewThey breed fast, eat almost anything and live just about anywhere. You can find them in fields, forests, backyards, parks and even parking decks. They’re living in cities like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. They’ve even made it to the Florida Keys and Long Island. In 2010, they crossed the Panama Canal. Now, the only thing keeping them from entering Colombia is a dense patch of forest called the Darien Gap. And camera traps have caught them heading that way.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)“I don’t think anyone’s betting against the coyote getting to South America eventually,” said Roland Kays, an ecologist at North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. “They have to be one of the most adaptable animals on the planet.”

To understand how these wily wanderers roamed so far, Dr. Kays and James Hody, a graduate student, sifted through thousands of museum specimens, fossil records, peer-reviewed reports and records from wildlife agencies and traced the animals’ paths back 10,000 years. Their resulting maps, published Tuesday in ZooKeys, show how wrong we’ve been about the historical range of our continent’s toughest canids. The maps also provide a foundation for scientists to start asking questions about what happens when new predators enter a habitat, and how hybridization influenced coyote evolution.

 

Combat Shooter's Handbook Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits From at least 10,000 years ago, coyotes lived in grasslands, prairies and deserts, as far east as the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and as far west as California. But after 1900, coyotes started moving out, in all directions, into forested habitats. By the 1920s, they had made their way into Alaska, and by the 1990s, to the East Coast. Even with wildlife managers working to get rid of coyotes, the animals have managed to expand their range since 1950 by at least twice that of any other North American carnivore during the same time.

They thrived, in part, because of increasing forest fragmentation and agricultural lands along with the annihilation of predators like wolves, cougars and jaguars. And because some coyotes once mated with wolves or dogs, resulting hybrids developed traits to help them adapt in new environments. Dr. Kays thinks wolf genes that made some coyotes bigger (but not a separate, “fear-mongering hype” species some call a coywolf, he points out) likely allowed them to expand more rapidly into the Northeast. It’s unclear what the dog genes have done for coyotes — other than making some look more German shepherd-like.

There are other mysteries. For example — how did coyotes expand so rapidly into Alaska and the Northwest, where forests are still relatively intact and full of wolves and mountain lions?

 

A coyote crossing U.S. Highway 120 near Groveland, Calif.CreditJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Coyotes are not the only ones positioned to swap continents. South America’s crab-eating fox is now in Panama too and headed north. If coyotes make it to South America, this will be the first time the continents have exchanged predators in three million years. There’s no telling what will happen.

Still another question remains.

“Is this something we should view as a natural expansion, that’s a good thing, or that we should view as an invasive species, that’s a bad thing?” asks Dr. Kays. “In some ways that’s a philosophical question, because in the end, there’s nothing we can do about it.”

 

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The Essence of Liberty: Volume II (The Economics of Liberty)The Essence of Liberty Volume II: The Economics of Liberty will introduce the reader to the fundamental principles of the Austrian School of Economics. The Austrian School traces its origins back to the Scholastics of Medieval Spain. But its lineage actually began with Carl Menger and continued on through Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard and many others. It is the one and only true private property based, free market line of economic thought. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

You might be interested in the other two volumes of this three volume set: The Essence of Liberty Volume I: Liberty and History and The Essence of Liberty Volume III: Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic. 

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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