Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Coyote or Coy wolf (coyote x wolf hybrid)?

MVFN Nature Notebook: Coyote or coyote x wolf hybrid?

Recent sighting received January 25, 2017

Lise Balthazar, Sheridan Rapids reported: “Yesterday [January 24], in the middle of the snow storm, I spotted a large animal running after a group of deer in our back field. It looked too big to be a coyote but a bit small to be a wolf. Could it be a coywolf?”

Photos were taken by Nat Capitanio

Tyler Wheeldon (Trent University) who spoke at our October lecture: “It can be difficult to accurately identify wolves/coyotes in central Ontario based on physical size and appearance due to hybridization that has occurred between wolves and coyotes, both historical and contemporary, which has led to intermediate-sized canids of variable appearance. Typically, genetic analysis is required to confidently assign an animal as wolf or coyote in central Ontario. However, based on the photos and the location of the sighting, my personal opinion is that the animal in question is probably an eastern coyote and not an eastern wolf, or at least is more coyote-like than wolf-like. The face seems quite coyote-like to me.”

photo Nat Capitanio

photo Nat Capitanio

photo Nat CapitanioCoy-wolf hybrid 3 Capitanio Jan 2017

photo Nat Capitanio

photos Nat Capitanio




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Conservation and Management: Coyotes, Wolves, and Cougars

Canadian Timber Wolf

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
April 4, 2008
Submitted by Pauline Donaldson

“Conservation and management of coyotes, wolves and cougars” at next MVFN

On Thursday, April 17, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist’s (MVFN) will host a lecture by Glenn Desy, a wildlife biologist who has studied a variety of rare birds and mammals, but who has a special interest in wild canids, the group of dog relatives that includes foxes, wolves, and coyotes. The lecture “Conservation and Management: Coyotes, Wolves, and Cougars” will be the last one in MVFN’s series “Our Natural World: Conservation Challenges.”

Glenn Desy’s work as a wildlife biologist has spanned ten years and taken him around North America studying a range of species and habitats from boreal birds to mangrove monitor lizards. His University of Guelph thesis work was part of a 4-year Georgian Bay ‘wolf telemetry’ study involving year-round wolf capture, snow tracking, and prey surveys. Recently Desy joined the Ministry of Natural Resources in Kemptville as Species at Risk Biologist with the Natural Heritage Information group.

Wolves and coyotes are symbolic of the wilderness. As top predators they require a lot of territory and can compete with humans for resources. The Eastern wolf has disappeared from southern Ontario but is found in Eastern Ontario where its hunting is regulated under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (1997). It is listed as a species of special concern provincially and nationally. The Eastern wolf is distinct from the northern Gray wolf (Canis lupus) and very closely related to the red wolf (Canis rufus). Hybridization with coyotes (Canis latrans) makes distinctions between the species more difficult. Which do we have here and what are the differing landscape needs and predation talents of the wolf, the coyote, and the coy-wolf hybrids? Our speaker will help answer these questions and explore ways to manage human/wolf interactions, to help conserve them, and increase our understanding of these animals.

Desy also plans to talk about wild cats or cougars. They remain a source of widespread interest to local residents. An endangered species, the Eastern Cougar tends to be quite rare in this area but their presence in Ontario is generally acknowledged, as there have been hundreds of sightings reported. Glenn Desy’s presentation is 7:30 p.m., April 17th at the Almonte United Church Social Hall, Elgin St., Almonte. All are welcome and refreshments are offered. There is a $5 fee for non-MVFN members. For information, please contact Joyce Clinton at 613-257-4879 or see MVFN’s website at

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