- An especially rare, and friendly, black coyote had been mingling among dogs and humans in Georgia for months.
- Researchers at the Atlanta Coyote Project had set out on a quest to find and trap him.
- The coyote ended up striking up a close friendship with a local great Pyrenees, and their bond helped the researchers track the animal down.
- Carmine the coyote is now living in a wildlife sanctuary and researchers are trying to determine why he is so friendly.
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Researchers in Georgia had been trying to track down a rare, and unusually friendly, black coyote for months.
Then the group got a call from a local woman who said the animal had become friends with her great Pyrenees, Ruth Bader, and was visiting her house every day.
“They would chase each other, play on the pool cover, gently wrestling or nap side by side,” Ruth Bader’s human, Vanessa Prior, told CNN.
After posting a video of the dog and coyote playing together on Facebook, a friend suggested Prior call a pet rescue centre. The centre told Prior about Atlanta Coyote Project’s efforts to catch the friendly coyote, CNN reported.
She and friends set up cameras in her yard and waited for the animal to return. Eventually the Atlanta Coyote Project was able to catch the animal.
Christopher Mowry, co-founder of the Atlanta Coyote Project, told Insider that the grand Pyrenees wasn’t the only friend that the coyote had made in Atlanta.
The male coyote has stopped at many different homes and played with a variety of dogs, he said.
“In fact, the coyote spent about a week coming on to a screened porch and spending the night sleeping on a couch!” he told Insider. “The coyote was easily covering a fairly large area of Atlanta and this area is one of the busiest parts of town with respect to highways. We strongly suspect that the coyote was routinely crossing 8-10 lanes of interstate highway using underground culverts.”
This kind of friendly behaviour isn’t common in coyote and typically they keep to themselves, the researcher said.
“Colleagues with the Canine Ancestry Project have recently identified genes in wolves and dogs linked to hyper-social traits, like those being exhibited by this coyote (i.e., friendliness),” Mowry wrote in an email. “We will be looking for genetic markers for this gene in this coyote.”
Mowry doesn’t believe that the coyote had been raised by humans.
After trapping the coyote, rescuers took the animal, now named Carmine, to a sanctuary where it will live with another coyote.
The animal had his first physical exam on Friday afternoon and it was discovered to be male. Originally, researchers suspected he was a female and named him Carmine.
The name will stay, Mowry said.
Carmine is about 11 months old, he said.
Mowry said it’s not ideal to be taking animals out of the wild for them to live in captivity, but feels like this coyote wouldn’t have survived the way it was living.
“I want to emphasise that the stars aligned to make this happen,” Mowry said. “Many people helped to create a successful outcome, and we now have the opportunity to study this animal more in depth, it can be an ambassador for public education, and we hopefully have provided a better life for it.”
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