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Canis latrans

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CARNIVORA CANIDAE

Scientific Name: Canis latrans
Species Authority: Say, 1823
Common Name/s:
English Coyote, American Jackal, Brush Wolf, Prairie Wolf

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor/s: Gese, E.M., Bekoff, M., Andelt,W., Carbyn, L. & Knowlton, F.
Reviewer/s: Sillero-Zubiri, C. & Hoffmann, M. (Canid Red List Authority)
Justification:
The Coyote has a wide distribution throughout North America, Mexico and into Central America. They are abundant throughout their range and are increasing in distribution as humans continue to modify the landscape. The species is very versatile, especially in their ability to exploit human modified environments.
History:
2004 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Coyotes were believed to have been restricted to the south-west and plains regions of the U.S. and Canada, and northern and central Mexico, prior to European settlement (Moore and Parker 1992). During the 19th century, coyotes are thought to have expanded north and west. With land conversion and removal of wolves after 1900, coyotes expanded into all of the U.S. and Mexico, southward into Central America, and northward into most of Canada and Alaska (Moore and Parker 1992).

Coyotes continue to expand their distribution and occupy most areas between 8°N (Panama) and 70°N (northern Alaska). They are found throughout the continental United States and Alaska, almost all of Canada (except the far north-eastern regions), south through Mexico and into Central America (Bekoff 1982; Reid 1997; Bekoff and Gese 2003).
Countries:
Native:
Belize; Canada; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Coyotes are abundant throughout their range and are increasing in distribution as humans continue to modify the landscape. Elimination of wolves may also have assisted Coyote expansion. Coyote density varies geographically with food and climate, and seasonally due to mortality and changes in pack structure and food abundance. Local control temporarily reduces numbers on a short-term basis, but Coyote populations generally are stable in most areas.
Coyote densities in different geographic areas and seasons vary from 0.01–0.09 coyotes/km² in the winter in the Yukon (O'Donoghue et al. 1997) to 0.9/km² in the fall and 2.3/km² during the summer (post-whelping) in Texas (Knowlton 1972, Andelt 1985). Density in different geographic areas and seasons are listed in Sillero-Zubiri (2004).
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Coyotes utilize almost all available habitats including prairie, forest, desert, mountain and tropical ecosystems. The ability of coyotes to exploit human resources allows them to occupy urban areas. Water availability may limit Coyote distribution in some desert environments.

Coyotes are opportunistic, generalist predators that eat a variety of food items, typically consuming items in relation to changes in availability. Coyotes eat foods ranging from fruit and insects to large ungulates and livestock. Livestock and wild ungulates may often be represented in coyote stomachs and scats as carrion, but predation on large ungulates (native and domestic) does occur (Andelt 1987). Predation by Coyotes on neonates of native ungulates can be high during fawning (Andelt 1987). Coyotes in suburban areas are adept at exploiting human-made food resources and will readily consume dog food or other human-related items.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no current threats to Coyote populations throughout their range. Local reductions are temporary and their range has been expanding. Conservation measures have not been needed to maintain viable populations. Coyotes adapt to human environs and occupy most habitats, including urban areas. Hybridization with dogs may be a threat near urban areas. Genetic contamination between dogs, Coyotes, and Grey Wolves may be occurring in north-eastern U.S. Hybridization between Coyotes and Red Wolves is problematic for Red Wolf recovery in south-eastern U.S.

Coyote fur is still sought by trappers throughout its range, with harvest levels depending upon fur prices, local and state regulations, and traditional uses and practices. Many states and provinces consider Coyotes a furbearing species with varying regulations on method of take, bag limit, and seasons.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is not included on the CITES Appendices, and there is no legal protection of the species. Restrictions on harvest and method of harvest depend upon state or provincial regulations.

The Coyote occurs in almost all protected areas across its range.

Occurrence in captivity
Over 2,000 Coyotes occur in captivity in zoos, wildlife centres, etc., throughout their range. They readily reproduce in captivity and survival is high.

Gaps in knowledge
Several gaps in knowledge still remain: coyote reproductive physiology and possible modes of fertility control; selective management of problem animals; effects of control; genetic differentiation from other canids (particularly the red wolf); development of non-lethal depredation techniques; interactions of coyotes and other predators; coyote-prey interactions; human-coyote interactions and conflicts at the urban interface; factors influencing prey selection; communication; adaptations in urban and rural environments; and interactions with threatened and endangered species.
Citation: Gese, E.M., Bekoff, M., Andelt,W., Carbyn, L. & Knowlton, F. 2008. Canis latrans. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 April 2014.
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