Historical Distribution & Expansion of Coyote Populations

 Prior to the late 1800s, coyotes inhabited only the open plains west of the Mississippi River, but this highly mobile and adaptable animal eventually began to disperse in all directions and is now found throughout most of North America in both rural and urban landscapes.

The geographic expansion of coyote populations became possible as humans exterminated the coyote’s main competitors, gray and red wolves. Deforestation for agriculture and development also helped to pave the way.

It was not until the 1970s that coyotes began to appear in Georgia and it then took another 20 years or so for them to become widespread throughout the state. The gradual loss (extirpation) of the red wolf in the southeastern U.S. created a vacant ecological niche that the coyote easily filled.

As a result, the coyote is now the top (apex) predator in this region, and, as such, potentially influences prey population sizes. We have been observing coyotes at Berry College/Floyd County/northwest GA since 1994.

© 2020 Atlanta Coyote Project