Thursday, 26 April 2012

Was canid shot in New Brunswick first wolf for 150 years?

Wolf in New Brunswick?
April 2012. On April 6th a licensed varmint hunter in New Brunswick, in Caraquet, ‘harvested' (Why do they always use these euphemisms? They mean shot) what he believed to be a large coyote. The animal weighed 66-88 pounds. Due to the relatively large size of the animal, there is some speculation that it may be something other than an eastern coyote. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has collected a piece of tissue from the animal for DNA analysis to determine its species genetic profile, the results should be available in 4 months.
The eastern coyote colonized eastern North America in the 1950's, a result of a natural expansion of its original range from the mid-west. During the eastern movement coyotes interacted with both red and grey wolves and interbreeding occurred. Analysis of DNA from eastern coyotes in 1992 indicates that wolf DNA is common throughout the eastern coyote populations, suggesting that hybridization between wolf and coyote was widespread as the coyote moved eastward. This would explain why eastern coyote subspecies are significantly larger and heavier than western coyote subspecies.
It has been speculated that this animal may have either captive or domestic origins, or in other words, it may have been intentionally held captive and/or be the result of intentional hybrid breeding between a dog and a wolf..
Coyote hunting - Only allowed 51 weeks of the year
In Canada, varmint hunting season for coyotes runs from March 1st until September 20th. The coyote may also be hunted as a small game animal from October 1st to the end of February, and trapped as a furbearer from October until March. There is no bag limit for this species.
The last recorded export of a wolf pelt from New Brunswick (origin unknown) occurred in 1921, although it is expected that the wolf was extirpated (locally extinct) from the province by 1860. There are currently not any known populations of wolves east of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

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