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article imageCoywolves, a hybrid breed of wolf and coyote, in Toronto

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By KJ Mullins     Feb 15, 2013 in Environment
Toronto - An eery howl in the night signaling that a coyote is around is common for those who camp in the woods. It is also becoming much more common in urban centres like Chicago and Toronto where a new breed, the coywolf, is on the prowl.
If you ran into a coywolf during a late night run in a local park would you be able to remain calm? That is one piece of advice on what to do if you encounter the animal. There has only been 2 reports of fatal coyote attacks in North America in 500 years but as the animals get closer to urban areas it is wise to be aware and never turn your back if you see one.
It is thought that the hybrid animals first appeared in 1919 in Algonquin park. The new breed was documented on CBC's The Nature of Things with David Suzuki Thursday night.
Suzuki said that the coywolf, a form of high speed evolution, has slipped into our cities. At this time only a rare few have seen coywolves up close and personal.
Coywolves are able to survive in an urban environment because they are intelligent. Coywolves also leave the nest earlier than wolves or coyotes, striking out on their own by the time they are two. They are able to blend in, often unseen, in cities parks. City coywolves hunt for small prey rather unlike their country relatives. They also mate for life.
Recently there have been reports of coyotes in Toronto but it's quite possible those sightings have been of a new breed, the coywolf. On Monday Toronto Police killed what is believed to be a coywolf.
The police had no way of knowing that the coywolf that they shot was a new father protecting his young. The animal and his mate had recently become parents, which is likely why they appeared to be more aggressive.
Coyotes have been in Toronto for years but recent sightings have created areas of panic. Wildlife experts say that education is needed as the animals don't appear to be leaving the city. When people leave food out in natural spaces it is a calling call for coywolves.
Coywolves are an unofficial name for a breed of Eastern coyote that has bred with wolves. They are double the size of other coyotes with pack-hunting and aggressive traits. This new breed also appears to have no fear of being in urban areas.
That lack of apparent fear has been costly to farmers in the Durham Region. Last year there was 545 dead or injured animals which resulted in a $168,000 food and agriculture ministry payout.
About one hundred years the odds were stacked against eastern wolves with deforestation, wolf control programs and an increasing development of urban centers. Coyotes, however, were able to increase their numbers. This is when the two animals began to interbreed. Coyotes can adjust the number of young born depending on their habitat.
Today we can see true biology evolution take place with these remarkable animals.
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