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.

coyote 571 image

Coyote 571 was a coyote who beat the odds, every time. She was captured first in December 2011, not yet a year old. Given her young age class and healthy appearance, she was fitted with a standard radio-collar and we stood back to see what her story would be. 571 turned out to be an amazing suburban animal. Although she did not navigate downtown Chicago streets, the Hoffman Estates/Schaumburg (IL) suburbs can often be an equally challenging network of traffic patterns (for human or animal).