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Monthly Archives: September 2015

Just out – When shooting a coyote kills a wolf: Mistaken identity or misguided management?

An ongoing issue in the United States is that endangered wolves are often mistaken as coyotes and illegally shot by hunters. Yesterday, with two other co-authors, I published a commentary article in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation highlighting this issue. See below for a copy of the abstract and link to the paper.


Abstract The recovery of wolf populations in the United States (U.S.) is hampered by ongoing human-wolf conflicts. In particular, the illegal killing of grey wolves (Canis lupus), red wolves (Canis rufus), and Mexican wolves (Canis lupus baileyi) protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act has contributed to relatively high mortality rates in some areas. One issue is that wolves are often mistaken as coyotes (Canis latrans) and illegally shot by hunters. To minimise cases of mistaken identity, stricter regulation of coyote hunting is being adopted in some areas where endangered wolves exist. Here we argue that such management should be adopted more widely, and especially in areas where wolves are at low densities or recolonising new areas. Such a proposal may face opposition, particularly where coyote hunting is common, or where coyotes are perceived as a threat to human enterprises such as livestock ranching. Appropriate education and training is needed to ensure that the public is aware that (i) wolves and coyotes are difficult to distinguish from a distance and (ii) coyotes are far too resilient to be affected by most periodic eradication programs, let alone from derbies or recreational hunting. We conclude that recreational hunting of coyotes could restrict wolf recolonisation while providing little benefit to animal agriculture. Consideration of new management strategies is therefore required to assist with wolf restoration efforts and to minimise ongoing human-wildlife conflicts.

Link to paper in Biodiversity and Conservation.

By the way, the canid in the figure is a coyote. Were you correct or was it a case of mistaken identity?