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 115 at capture

We were not able to capture the first mate of Coyote 1 prior to his death (likely from a vehicle), but we captured her second mate, Coyote 115, on February 18, 2004, at the peak of the mating season. Coyote 115 was in excellent condition at 18 kg (40 lbs). He remained with Coyote 1 constantly until her death in 2010. Their relationship was interesting to observe, where at times they were inseparable, and other times they would take short breaks from each other. Still, they defended the same territory together continuously after 115’s collaring date.