Coyote believed first sighted in Beaufort Delta region since 1974

A coyote caught on camera in the Richardson Mountain range is the first spotted in the region in decades, a wildlife biologist says.

The coyote was caught on camera in the Richardson Mountain range

A coyote caught on camera in the Richardson Mountains was the first sighted in the Beaufort Delta Region in decades, says a wildlife biologist with the Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board. (Submitted by Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board)

A coyote has been spotted in the Beaufort Delta region — a first in decades says a wildlife biologist.

The Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board set up 12 remote game cameras last summer in the Richardson Mountains, but they weren't expecting all the animals they would see when they checked them last month.

The unexpected traveller was among the bears, sheep and lynx caught on camera. 

"What was surprising this year is we got a picture of a coyote which is extremely rare," said Édouard Bélanger, a wildlife biologist for the board. Bélanger believes this to be the first coyote sighted in the region in almost four decades.

"The last sighting was in 1974 by Parsons Lake, north of Inuvik. There was another sighting recorded in 1927. So it's really uncommon."

A coyote caught on camera in the Richardson Mountains. (Submitted by Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board)

Bélanger said three different cameras caught this lone coyote, three different times in 2018 between September December. The cameras are triggered to take photos by animal movement. 

The cameras were set up to capture photos of Dall sheep, so the resources board can get a better understanding of their population size.

Bélanger said they believe the coyote is a female, but they don't know why it's made an appearance in the region.

"We don't know where it's from," Bélanger said. "Did it simply follow the Mackenzie River? Or the Dempster Highway? Or even the mountain range? There's no way to say."

"I went into the communities to see if they usually see a coyote, most trappers and hunters haven't seen them around so it's really hard to puzzle out where it's from exactly."

Bélanger and his crew will be going back to the Richardson Mountains at the end of August, and will be able to see if the cameras captured any more surprise animals.