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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, December 29, 2013

Back in 2006, a Science Teacher in Connecticut named Tom Pepe finished up an 8 year research project evaluating the Eastern Coyote population of Central Connecticut............He discovered that the Coyotes average life span varies between 2 and 5 years,,,,,,,,,,,, that annual litters of pups averages 7,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,that Eastern Coyotes(or Coywolves as Massachusetts biologist Jon Way refers to them) average 35 to 60 pounds,,,,,,,,,,,,,,that these Coyotes contain 15 to 20% Eastern Wolf DNA(which accounts for their larger size versus the 15 to 30 pound Coyotes found in our mid western, south eastern and western states and that they are truly omnivorous, lovers of fuits as wel as turkeys, rabbits, deer and insects

Thesis shows coyotes living comfortably in local area 

By Dan Champagne 
Record-Journal staff  October 14, 2006 

It took Tom Pepe a year and a half to capture his first coyote. Day after day he baited traps with meat from road kill and played a tape of coyote sounds through a weatherproof speaker near the trap. When he finally caught one in the spring of 2001, his hands-on research officially began. 

  Pepe, a 32-year-old Meriden resident, recently finished about eight years of research on the ecology of coyotes in Connecticut. He wrote a thesis paper for his master's degree in wildlife biology from Southern Connecticut State University and was awarded a fellowship grant for $10,000 to continue his work "This is just a lot of fun for me," said Pepe, a 1992 Platt High School graduate. "I love being out in the wilderness and doing some research on these fascinating animals that people around here don't know too much about. It's amazing to watch how they live and survive, and think about if we as humans would be able to do the same thing."

  Pepe, a chemistry, biology and general science teacher at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, began his research in 1998 by talking to hunters and farm owners about their experiences with coyotes before he set out to capture them in 2001. He said his fascination with wildlife dates back to his childhood, when he would visit family in Vermont nearly every weekend and during his summer vacations. 

  From the spring of 2001 to the spring of 2002, Pepe captured seven coyotes using various trapping methods and equipped four of them with radio collars, which allowed him to track their movement. He had permits through the state Department of Environmental Protection to capture the coyotes. He found the coyotes at places such as the Meriden-Markham Airport, the woods next to Hubbard Park and near North Farms Reservoir in Wallingford. 

  His father has his pilot's license and the pair would take a plane equipped with a tracking device from Meriden-Markham Airport to survey the coyotes' movement. His study area encompassed 1,217.3 square kilometers around Central Connecticut, including Meriden, Wallingford, Cheshire and Southington. 

  "These things are everywhere around here," he said. "It's really a great environment for them here because of the food availability with lots of deer, as well as the terrain they are comfortable with."

  Pepe found that coyotes in Central Connecticut typically occupy small territories and said he believed there are more coyotes per square mile in Connecticut than in northern New England, although he was unable to guess how many are now living in Connecticut.
  "He's done an awful lot of work on his own, with a focus on their behavior and activities," said Dwight Smith, Pepe's advisor and chairman of the biology department at Southern Connecticut State University. "He's basically very good at self-starting and has been very good on this coyote project. I think everyone knew they were here, but nobody knew exactly where they were and what they were doing." 

  Before collaring the coyotes with a tracking device, Pepe anesthetized them and took blood samples to check their DNA for wolf hybridization and ran tests for heartworm and Lyme Disease. The samples were run through the East Side Veterinary Clinic in Meriden. 

  He also learned through his research that a typical litter is about seven pups, although only four usually survive the first year. The coyotes usually eat rabbits, deer and wild turkeys, but could survive on fruits and insects. 
 Some of the pups survive that first difficult year by raiding trash cans or eating cats, he said. 

  "They're very common throughout Connecticut because they're very adaptable animals," said Paul Rego, a wildlife biologist for the state Department of Environmental Protection. "They use all types of habitats, from forest to wetlands, and they'll eat a variety of foods. They're growing more adaptable every year." 

  Pepe hopes his thesis paper will get published and plans to submit it to local universities and the Department of Environmental Protection. He said he would love to continue researching coyotes and has helped form a group at his high school—the E.O. Smith Wildlife Society—to help with that research. Three of the four collared coyotes were still in the area as of late August and he wants students in the school group to help gather information on them. 

  "I absolutely love doing this and I like to share that with other people," Pepe said. "I'd do this my whole life if people keep letting me."Facts about coyotes 
  Some findings from Tom Pepe's thesis on the ecology of coyotes in Connecticut:

  - Coyotes came to the state from Canada because of the abundance of food, including a large deer population.
  - Average weight of coyotes in Connecticut is about 35 pounds and could go up to around 60 pounds.
  - Average life span of coyotes in Connecticut is 2 to 5 years.
  - Average litter is seven pups, although only four typically make it through the first year.
  - The DNA makeup of coyotes in Connecticut is 15 to 20 percent gray wolf.
  - When a female coyote is pregnant, she and her mate will often build a den in the spring six to eight feet underground.

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