Ideas

Coyotl's Song

One of nature's success stories, coyotes have expanded from the Great Plains to most of North America, even living happily in urban parks. IDEAS producer Dave Redel reflects on the science and mythology of the wily coyote.
(CC0 Public Domain/Pixabay)
One of nature's success stories, coyotes have expanded from the Great Plains to most of North America, even living happily in urban parks. IDEAS producer Dave Redel reflects on the science and mythology of the wily coyote. **This episode originally aired December 26, 2001.


Biologist Phil Lehner studied coyote vocalizations and he explains some of their uncanny howls 1:15

 

Even as humans have tamed the wilderness and asserted our domination, coyotes have been quietly thriving.  In less than a century they've expanded far beyond their home in the great plains. Now coyotes live happily from Alaska to Mexico, from coast to coast, from prairies to mountains to cities. They're in every province, even Newfoundland and Labrador, and turn up regularly in Vancouver, Toronto, even Central Park in New York. Despite mass poisonings and eradication campaigns, despite hunting and hatred and persecution, North America's great Trickster, Old Man Coyote still lives and prospers. 


**Coyote is the Spanish version of the Aztec name for the animal: coyotl.  Coyotes are also sometimes called the 'song dog'.

Guests in the program:

  • Eric Gese, then Assistant Professor at Utah State University and biologist with the National Wildlife Research Centre in Utah, now Professor of Wildland Resources, Utah State University.
     
  • Marc Bekoff, then biologist at University of Colorado and editor of Coyotes: Biology Behavior and Management and now Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado.  
     
  • Philip Lehner, then and now, retired professor of Biology at Colorado State University, specialist in coyote vocalizations.
     
  • Kristine Lampa, then Executive Director of Stanley Park Ecology Society, now Kristine Webber, Executive Director of NatureKids B.C.
       
  • William Bright, then retired Professor of Linguistics and Anthropology, UCLA, author of A Coyote Reader.  Professor Bright passed away in 2006.

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