What is a coywolf? Are they in Illinois?

A coywolf is a term still disputed in the scientific community. It refers to what is more commonly called an eastern coyote, which is mainly coyote with a small amount of wolf gene influence. The term coywolf is misleading because it suggests a 50/50 hybrid cross between a wolf and a coyote, which it is not. There is no evidence to support that eastern coyotes reside in Illinois and it would be unlikely that they could be differentiated by the public from the typical western coyote. Despite some opinions, facts indicate a wide-range of weights/coat conditions in coyotes and there is no significant difference between eastern and western coyote sizes. Western coyotes are what you see in Illinois.

For more information about the PBS nature special "Meet the Coywolf," please read our response here.

736 getting outfitted

Coyote 736 was a healthy, young male that was trapped and collared on the southwest side of Chicago on June 2, 2013. His tail had a unique deformity — short, with a twist that resembled a pug's tail, so beginning his nickname of "Pug" (although we don't normally name coyotes, sometimes nicknames help our researchers communicate with the media when referring to animals). We were very excited to learn from this animal given his location. Pug traversed some of the most urban, rugged streets of Chicago and didn't seem to draw attention anywhere.