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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

A hard and fast rule of Wolf and Coyote biology is that Gray Wolves(C.Lupus) will not hybridize with Coyotes(C.latrans)...............In fact, where the two species interact, Wolves make it a habit of chasing and killing Coyotes(In Yellowstone, Wolves have cut the Coyote population in half) ..............In the East however, Eastern Wolves C.lupus lycaon very much hybridize with Coyotes when Wolf populations are stressed and/or splintered............This of course is how we now have the Eastern Coyote(C.lycaon x latrans) or as our friend, biologist Jon Way likes to call them, Coywolves...............Western Coyotes migrating through Eastern Canada bred with Eastern Wolves at the beginning of the 20th Century and the result is the Eastern Coyote..............Is is feintly possible that the lone Wolf that has dispersed from Oregon(OR-7) might actually end up mating with a Coyote in California due to there not being any Wolves to make a home with anywhere near where he is roaming?

California's lone wolf seen mingling with coyotes

San Francisco Chronicle
This May 8, 2012 photo provided by the California Department of Fish and Game shows OR-7, the Oregon wolf that has trekked across two states looking for a mate, on a sagebrush hillside in Modoc County, Calif. A California Department of Fish and Game biologist spotted the wolf and took this photo while out visiting ranchers in the area. (AP Photo/Richard Shinn/California Department of Fish and Game)

The lone wolf of California may not be as lonely as the experts thought.
The gray wolf, known to scientists as OR7 and to wolf advocates as Journey, was spotted last week in Modoc County cavorting with a group of coyotes.

Karen Kovacs, the wildlife program manager for the California Department of Fish and Game, said state biologists, game wardens and a federal trapper were in the southwestern part of the county Tuesday to discuss with ranchers the presence of the wolf, which had been tracked by GPS signals to the area.

Odd flirtation with coyotes

At one point the group members stopped and scanned with their binoculars a sagebrush-covered hillside, and to their shock and delight, there stood the most famous canine in California.
"He was about 100 yards away and looking toward them. He may have heard their voices and came out to investigate," Kovacs said. "Then he moved off and was subsequently joined by coyotes."
Kovacs said two of the three coyotes came up right next to the 90- to 100-pound wolf.
"They were in very close proximity to OR7," she said. "I think it was kind of a mutual thing. Maybe there had been some prior contact. They did go off in the same direction together, but shortly after that OR7 went off by himself and then disappeared out of view."
Biologist Richard Shinn snapped only the second known photograph of OR7 before he vanished into the woods. The consensus was that he looked healthy.
The odd flirtation with the coyotes was a surprise considering that wolves and coyotes are normally rivals. Wolf packs in Yellowstone National Park and other locations where the two species intermingle will attack and kill any coyotes seen on their territory.
Department experts said, however, that it is not unheard of for transient gray wolves to befriend coyotes or domestic dogs on their journeys, apparently just for the company.

'Maybe he is a little lonely'

"These animals in general don't like each other. They are competitors, but a lone wolf who is not defending any territory doesn't have the same aggression," Kovacs said. "Given that wolves are social creatures, maybe he is a little lonely. He's been alone since September of last year."
OR7 left what is known as the Imnaha Pack in Wallowa County, Ore., last year and traveled more than 1,000 miles through dense forests and over mountainous terrain in search of a mate. He crossed the California state line in December and was tracked by game officials using signals from his GPS collar through Siskiyou, Lassen, Shasta and now Modoc counties.
He is the first wolf in California in almost a century, creating an international sensation.
Experts say the wandering wolf's primary goal is to start a new pack, which raises the question of whether he might actually consider mating with a coyote.
Such dalliances have happened before in the southwest and in eastern Canada, primarily, experts say, between male wolves and female coyotes. Wolf-coyote hybrids have been documented in the northeastern United States by DNA evidence. The resulting "coywolves" are believed to have filled a niche in the ecosystem historically occupied by wolves that were eradicated by humans. The red wolf is believed by many to be a hybrid.

Issues with hybrid species

"Clearly mating is a possibility," Kovacs said. "These creatures are successful as a social unit. As an individual their odds of passing on their genes to a future generation are significantly reduced."
Wolves are protected in California under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. It is unclear what would happen if a hybrid species emerged, but wildlife officials say wild wolf-dog breeds have been destroyed in the past in an effort to protect the genetic line.

Images of trek

More photographs from OR7's trek taken by biologist Richard Shinn in Modoc County can be seen on the California Department of Fish and Game website,

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