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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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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

With the continued killing of Wolves across North America, Coyotes have exploited every type of landscape niche--- north, south east and west............In the USA, only Long Island is still not officially "coyote territory", although with recent spotings over the past two years, it appears that this will change soon............Coyotes tolerate cold and hot biomes with Alaska home to the "Songdog" since at least the early 1900's............As many of us know, Gray Wolves only tolerate Coyotes on the fringes of their territories and thus historically, very few if any Coyotes as far north as our 49th State..............With the Wolf continually under State persecution, Coyotes have made the Fairbanks region home over the past few years.............An area trapper saids the following about our most successful "adapt and overcome" carnivore----"I used to think foxes were smart until I ran into wolves," he said. "Then, I thought wolves were smart until I ran into coyotes"

Coyotes are everywhere, even in Alaska

Ned Rozell
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Fairbanks teacher Jim Lokken snapped this image of a coyote he has seen several times near University of Alaska Fairbanks ski trails.Courtesy Jim Lokken

Last Friday, an email popped up in all the mailboxes of people with the Geophysical Institute: Someone saw what might have been a wolf on the trails north of the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. "Please be cautious if skiing in the area."
A few people responded, saying they had seen one or two coyotes roaming the 1,000-plus acres of trails and frozen wetlands just north of campus buildings and roads.
UAF ski trail groomer Jason Garron has had several encounters, saying he believes the animal is a coyote that is "large and healthy-looking." Kate Millburg saw a wolf or coyote while she was skiing that looked about "80 pounds, nicely furred and healthy." Rebecca Rolph has seen what she believes is a coyote in the same area while she was running and driving to work.
Biologists said coyotes were more likely what people saw on the university trails. Coyotes have been in Alaska since at least the early 1900s.
"People are always surprised to hear about coyotes, but they are certainly around," said Mike Taras, an expert tracker and outreach specialist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks.
Department biologists do not keep track of coyote numbers, but Fairbanks-area trapper Randy Zarnke said coyotes began showing up on his trapline trails three or four years ago.
"Now, all I have left is coyotes," he said. "Not sure if they ate all the other fur-bearers or just chased them away."
Coyote pelts fetch less money than marten or lynx, Zarnke said, so he does not try to trap them. He'd like to remove them from his trapping grounds because they've eaten foxes from his snares in each of the last three seasons. But he finds coyotes difficult to trap.
"I used to think foxes were smart until I ran into wolves," he said. "Then, I thought wolves were smart until I ran into coyotes."
The adaptable creatures have been among the first large animals back into areas people have settled, wrote Donald Cornelius in Fish and Game's Wildlife Notebook Series entry on the coyote.
"The elimination or reduction of wolves from many areas of North America, coupled with land and clearing activities, have contributed to this range extension," he wrote.
Based on reports from more than 100 years ago, biologists figure coyotes were first on the mainland of Southeast Alaska and then migrated northward into the upper Tanana Valley. From here, they spread all over Alaska, with the highest numbers on the Kenai Peninsula and in the Matanuska, Susitna and Copper River valleys. Few people have reported seeing coyotes north of the Yukon River.
In areas without wolves, which eat coyotes and keep their numbers down, the dog-like creatures with pointy ears and snouts are just about everywhere. People have seen coyotes in all five boroughs of New York City, and in Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and every major city in North America. Maybe it shouldn't be surprising we share our vast acreage with them.
Since the late 1970s, the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Geophysical Institute has provided this column free in cooperation with the UAF research community. Ned Rozell is a science writer for the Geophysical Institute. 

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