By: Cholla Nicoll, BRN Wildlife Intern
What is more American than the Fourth of July? How about an animal that has existed on this continent for over a million years, the coyote. The coyote arose in the Middle Pleistocene, and today there are 19 subspecies ranging from Central America to Alaska. Coyotes can be solitary or pack animals, frequently forming pair bonds that can last a lifetime. Coyotes are attentive parents and generally have pups once per year. They communicate with each other through vocalizations and scent marking. The scientific name for coyote is Canis latrans which means “barking dog”.
Coyotes continue to thrive after centuries of persecution and have even expanded their historic range filling gaps left behind by the elimination of other predators such as the wolf. The removal of coyotes leads to new coyotes breeding faster in the absence of resource competition. Although it has been well documented that killing coyotes is an ineffective and costly means of control, nearly a half million coyotes are still killed annually in the U.S.
These misunderstood animals are vital to our ecosystems and coexistence is more effective than lethal means of population control. Coyotes keep smaller predator populations such as feral cats and skunks in check, allowing birds a greater opportunity to reproduce. Coyotes also keep rodent and rabbit populations under control which benefits both urban and rural human communities. To learn more about how to coexist with coyotes please check out Project Coyote.
Arizona is now under a second round of shutdowns, due to an increase in COVID19 cases. This Fourth of July some of us will be missing our familiar routine of looking towards the sky for fireworks and laughing with friends and family. I suggest in place of our usual traditions we celebrate one of the greatest American survival stories known and turn our heads to the sky and howl.
If we can’t be together, we can take note from the coyotes and at least hear each other’s call of survival and continued endurance. Please enjoy the picture of a mated pair of coyotes who safely reside within the Borderlands Wildlife Preserve.
By: Audrey Rader, BRN Watershed Restoration Program Manager
Borderlands Restoration Network is pleased to announce the recent hiring of Eduardo A Gracia and Gregory Decker as Restoration Technicians for our Watershed and Habitat Restoration Program. Eduardo and Gregory will help carry out our vision to restore running water to our streams, protect our delicate riparian areas and spectacular grassland flora and fauna.
In the coming year, they will aid in invasive plant management projects supported by the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management and the United States Fish and Wildlife; install erosion control structures in collaboration with Southern Arizona Quail Forever and the National Forest Foundation; enhance pollinator habitat through support by the Frances Seebe Charitable Trust, and the United States Forest Service; collect seed for future restoration projects; and provide ecological landscaping and rainwater harvesting services to members of our community. Gregory and Eduardo will be reporting to Watershed Restoration Program Manager, Audrey Rader.
A lifelong resident of arid landscapes, Eduardo earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology with an emphasis in terrestrial natural resources from the Universidad de Sonora. While spending many years exploring Sonora, from desert to grasslands and majestic sierras to the ocean, Eduardo became involved in projects related to wildlife conservation and habitat restoration. Living in the borderlands, Eduardo has fostered a genuine passion for uniting Mexico and the United States through his work outdoors, where he feels that his actions contribute to the development of a better world.
Gregory also grew up in the arid southwest, hailing from Douglas, AZ. Over the past half a decade, Gregory has gained an abundance of outdoors experience with the Student Conservation Association, the Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Arizona Conservation Corps as a restoration technician and wildland firefighter. Gregory enjoys working outdoors and values the sense of satisfaction he gleans from making an actionable difference for our Sky Island landscapes every day.
Both Eduardo and Gregory have established themselves on our team as talented and passionate restoration practitioners. We are so grateful to have them on board!
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