What is essential to know when living and farming with carnivores? I would suggest that the most important aspect to understand is who they are. Get to know how they live, how they think, their complex social lives and much more.
That is why I wrote my newly published book, I Am Coyote. Although coyotes are the native wild dog of our North American continent, who they are is unknown to most people. Today, coyotes have filled all those important niches left empty after the extermination of wolves in the United States. And in most place, coyotes are playing the important role of the keystone carnivore — one that most affects the healthy balance of species and the protection from disease for all, including us.
Let me share a little of my book with you. In my work as a conservation biologist in Maine, I spend a great deal of time with the people in our communities and on our farms. These are the people who have inspired me to write my book, for they are full of questions and wonderings about this species. In my first blog post for MOTHER EARTH NEWS, I wrote about the importance of understanding historical perspectives. So my book is firmly placed in the history of our American continent, and the relationship of different cultures to coyotes.
But I have decided to write this historical journey from a single female’s point of view. She disperses from her family’s territory in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, and journeys in the dead of winter through eastern Canada, carefully finding her way through the great city of Montreal unnoticed, and then discovering a way to cross the mighty St. Lawrence River. Her long journey takes her to Maine, where she finally finds her mate. And together they travel on to Baxter State Park in the wilds of northern Maine.
During her long journey, I create flashbacks of the coyotes’ lives in the prairies of North America and their relationship with Native Peoples, and then the European settlers. What was it that caused her mother, a western coyote to find her way to Canada and then mate with an Eastern Canadian wolf? Discover for yourself her mother’s journey.
Back now to our young female coyote: Once she and her mate settled into their territory in Baxter State Park, I share with the readers the complexities of a coyote’s social life, their relationship as mates, the bringing up of their pups, their role as a predator, and all the hardships of the life of a wild being. Though I tell a story, all the history of our continent and peoples, and the ecology of coyotes is historically accurate and ecologically authentic.
I will leave all the particulars of this special story for you to discover. It is my hope that after reading it, you will have a greater understanding of the intelligent, socially complex carnivore, with whom you share your farm. May your life and your farming be enriched by this understanding.
I Am Coyote, is available on Amazon and can be ordered from your favorite bookstore.
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