Coyotes and wolves are related In fact, there’s striking evidence that eastern coyotes, which are larger than their western cousins, may in fact have a fair bit of wolf DNA. But this is a topic of much debate among scientists. There are more coyotes because we actively tried to exterminate the wolf around the turn of the century, and they couldn’t handle the intense pressure. The reason there are so many coyotes in the eastern U.S. today is because the top predator (wolves) was removed, giving these smaller predators the opportunity to “fill the gap”. Wolves used to help keep coyote populations in check. Remember, they’re not the same species — coyotes are much more opportunistic and don’t need large packs or nearly as much territory — which helps explain why coyotes can flourish and wolves can’t in the modern world.
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