What we’re reading: Sept 12, 2014

The Rise of the Coyote

Coyotes have dramatically expanded their range eastward in the last 100 years with a release of predation and competition from the decline of grey wolves and mountain lions. Coyotes are able to hybridize with wolves and this paper explores the role of genetic factors (hybridization) compared to ecological factors in allowing coyotes to exploit this niche. Genetic factors were found to be important; coyotes that have experienced substantial hybridization have the most pronounced niche differentiation such as those in the northeast, which have shifted to a similar niche as wolves.

Wolf Management Oscillations
This paper (sub) links changing public attitudes towards differences in illegal killing of gray wolves over time in Wisconsin, USA. Specifically, when public attitudes towards wolves were low, increased illegal killing was observed; however, the authors note that public attitudes became more negative when the state wildlife management agency had less authority for depredation. The authors conclude that gradual changes in protected status with concomitant control options helps to foster support among the public and less depredation.

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