One of the most dramatic wildlife stories of our times -- the ever-increasing presence of a wholly new species, literally part wolf, in every suburb, city, and backyard east of the Mississippi
Catherine Reid left her hometown in western Massachusetts in the 1970s, when people were just beginning to talk about a new creature sliding from the southwest into New England via Ontario, a canid bigger than a coyote, not quite large enough to be a wolf.Back home after decades away and settling into an old farmhouse with her female partner, Reid writes, "A mixture of fear and fascination compel me to take up the hunt.I want to see a coyote, I want to know its story, I want to unravel the way it intersects my own." Her search for this outlaw species leads her to rich and remarkably controversial fieldwork; to a session with a coyote litter in captivity; and, eventually, to spine-tingling sightings in the wild.
Reid alerts us to the extraordinary story of evolution in action unfolding under our very noses, the story of an animal that is a "mix of wolf and coyote, old and new, necessary and fierce and wily." As Reid's beautifully grounded writing shows, the eastern coyote in its hundred-year migration from the western plains to New England has picked up wolf DNA and a little-understood combination of coyote and wolf behaviors.The eastern coyote typically weighs considerably more than its western cousin, many well over fifty pounds.The size of the eastern coyote and its ability to take such prey as deer, as well as domestic dogs and cats, have left some ecologists to wonder whether we'll call this animal living among us "coyote" or "wolf" in another twenty years.
Coyote rekindles our age-old fascination with coyote as trickster, coyote (as Mark Twain put it) as "living, breathing allegory of Want." And it suggests, through a wealth of astonishing evidence, that we will all need to forge a brand-new relationship to this large, until recently unknown, and uncannily intelligent hunter in our midst.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 10 / 2004