From the Trickster of Native American legends to the devious Wile E. Coyote of cartoon fame, the coyote has long been associated with cunning, greed and gullibility. At the same time, the coyote has been an enduring symbol of wildness. Combining the sleekness of the cat, the quick intelligence of the fox and the brute wildness of the wolf, the coyote is perhaps best known for its haunting howl-the true voice of the wilderness.
Searching for the truth behind the myths and the symbols, Wayne Grady draws from scientific literature, discussions with experts and his own experience to explore the nature of this complex member of the canid family. In a lucid and gracefully written text, Grady describes how coyotes mate, including their lyrical love duet proclaiming their bond; how they defend their territory; and how they communicate through scent marking and eleven distinctive types of howls. He also discusses the coyote's extensive range and seemingly infinite adaptability.
In later sections, the book illuminates the long-standing relationship between coyotes and human beings, beginning with the Aztecs and the early North American Native people, who kept domesticated coyotes as beasts of burden and a source of food. Later, as ranchers began to raise livestock, people began to call for the total eradication of the coyote. Today, as the range and population of the coyote have increased, so has conflict between coyotes and farmers throughout North America. Grady discusses this conflict by exploring the opposing viewpoints of hunters, biologists who want to protect coyotes and ranchers who claim to have lost stock to coyote packs. Happily, despite concerted efforts to exterminate the coyote, its presence in our wilderness and settled areas has actually increased. The Nature of Coyotes celebrates this success and issues and invitation to us all to better understand and appreciate the coyote's vital place in our world.
Wayne Grady's thoughtful and absorbing text is complemented by 72 full-colour photographs by some of the best wildlife photographers in the world. These magnificent images provide and intimate look at the world of the coyote as it hunts, cares for its young, howls at the moon or menacingly defends its territory. Together, text and photographs convey the spirit of the coyote in all its mystery and wildness.