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Moose (Alces alces) predation by eastern coyotes (Canis latrans) and eastern coyote × eastern wolf (Canis latrans × Canis lycaon) hybrids

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It has been widely assumed that coyotes (Canis latrans Say, 1823) are incapable of killing adult moose (Alces alces (L., 1758)) and previous studies of coyote predation support this assumption. However, eastern coyotes and eastern coyote × eastern wolf (Canis lycaon Schreber, 1775) are larger than western coyotes and appear to rely on larger prey in some areas. We used a combination of GPS telemetry, genetic analysis, and field investigation to test the hypothesis that eastern coyotes and coyote × wolf hybrids are capable of preying on adult moose in central Ontario. Our hypothesis was supported, as we documented four definitive cases of eastern coyotes and (or) eastern coyote × eastern wolf hybrids killing moose ≥1.5 years old. Predation by coyotes and coyote × wolf hybrids probably does not represent a threat to moose population viability in central Ontario, but our results suggest that researchers and managers in other areas with declining moose populations that are sympatric with eastern coyotes and (or) coyote × wolf hybrids should consider coyote predation as a potential source of mortality.
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Keywords: Alces alces; Canis latrans; coyotes de l’Est; eastern coyotes; hybridation; hybridization; moose; orignal; predation; prédation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program, Trent University, Peterborough, ON K9J 7B8, Canada. 2: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Wildlife Research and Development Section, Peterborough, ON K9J 7B8, Canada.

Publication date: 2013-01-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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