This news release is available in French.
It has long been believed that coyotes were incapable of taking down an adult moose, but researchers have recently discovered that eastern coyotes and coyote wolf hybrids (canids) have preyed on adult moose in central Ontario. Their findings were published today in the Canadian Journal of Zoology.
Researchers Dr. John Benson, a PhD student in the Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program at Trent University when he conducted the research, and Dr. Brent Patterson, a research scientist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in Peterborough, documented instances where packs of eastern coyotes and coyote wolf hybrids (canids) were found to have killed moose. Their study involved live capture of eastern coyotes and eastern coyote eastern wolf hybrids to deploy Global Positioning System (GPS) radio-collars and take blood samples for DNA analysis. The GPS collars delivered highly accurate locations of the study animals (via satellites or cell towers) so the researchers were able to visit these locations during winter to investigate their activities and document predation patterns. The DNA analysis allowed them to determine whether the animals were coyotes, wolves, or coyote wolf hybrids.
In the study, four canid packs ranging in size from two to five animals were found to have killed moose. The researchers obtained two accurate ages from moose that were killed by coyotes and/or hybrids: One was very old (20 years) and one was young (20 months). It is believed that younger and older adult moose are probably more vulnerable due to inexperience and deteriorating body condition, respectively.
"Coyotes and coyote wolf hybrids probably prey on moose opportunistically and only when circumstanc
|Contact: Jenny Ryan|
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press)