Sorry to drive this in to the ground, but I'm not sure your coyote biologist is up on his genetic or coat type literature then. Mind if I ask who it is? I know quite a few yote biologists. You pasted from Wikipedia, so I'd like to encourage you and others to read the rest of the page, not just the initial sentence blurb: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leucism (which is misleading taken out of context or not elaborated upon). A leucistic animal HAS WHITE PATCHES and is not simply "pale" (they are usually almost completely white). This isn't a matter of me being uninformed, this is what leucism is and what it is accepted as in the literature when discussed. I can pull out primary examples if this is still under debate. That said, about eastern coyotes. I went to a conference in 2008 specifically for Northeast Naturalists which had an entire symposium on the eastern coyote. Conclusions that came from that meeting were really interesting and the genetics told us something no one was really expecting, but was strongly supported. First, the eastern timber wolf (Canis lycaon) was found to be more closely related to the coyote (Canis latrans) than to the gray wolf (Canis lupus). Additionally, the red wolf (Canis rufus) is closest related to the coyote...as you guys already acknowledged when talking about the problems they are having with coyote/red wolf interbreeding. The data support that what likely happened is an ancestral canid came in to North America and diverged in to the red wolf, coyote, and eastern timber wolf. The gray wolf, a very distantly related cousin, then came in to North America. Coyotes in the east have therefore been successfully hybridizing with their very closely related cousins, the eastern timber wolf and red wolf. There is still a lot to be worked out, but this story is what the genetics are supporting. As to how the coyotes got here, I agree with Bill. It probably has a lot more to do with expansion and adaptability than simply animals escaping or being planted (which I'm sure happened as well). If you look at coyote expansion across North America it correlates very well with one factor; a factor that was the coyotes biggest limiter: the disappearance of the gray wolf. You want less coyotes? Bring the wolves back, it's sure working like a charm in Yellowstone (the data on coyote populations before and after the wolf reintroduction is fascinating in this regard). My guess is the red wolves likely had the south occupied and out-competed coyotes, meaning less coyotes, and when the red wolves began to disappear the coyotes moved in. For the few remaining red wolves, any mate that can give you viable offspring is better than no mate. This isn't some insidious plan on behalf of the coyotes to ruin other canids or your day. (If the coyotes were gone, who knows, we might suddenly see larger foxes as they, or some other carnivore, started to take the niche left by wolves and coyotes.) I'd be interested to hear support on this statement as dingos are descendants of feral dogs brought to Australia by early humans. Are they really not that easily habituated? Even being very recent descendants of domestic dogs? I'm also curious about this statement, as foxes are known as some of the ULTIMATE urbanized carnivores and I believe they colonized urban areas far before coyotes did. I HAVE heard about "mass killings" done by coyotes, wolves, and primarily dogs, such as you described with your friend's goats. I'm sorry he experienced that, but I'm not sure the coyotes are the root of the problem so much as they are a symptom of a much larger issue. (I'm not sure statements like killing "for the fun of it" are very productive, I have no evidence to say they aren't getting dopamine surges and really enjoying it when they get into a killing frenzy, but it just seems like a very loaded statement.) There's also a lot of issues with wild canids (wolves and yotes) taking the flack for work done by domestic dogs. I'm not saying wild canids are innocent, but they shouldn't always be the scape-goat (no pun intended!). And now for opinion time. I find it really sad to see so much coyote hate. I'm in awe of these animals, and I'm not saying this in a fluffy-bunny "hippie" sense. I mean seriously, we have a canid that is the perfect size and kind of generalist to adapt to myriad environments. Once wolves were gone THE WORLD OPENED UP for the coyote and the coyote took that opportunity. This isn't an insidious animal with thoughts of invasive world domination and livestock slaughter, it's an animal that has the capability to fill empty niches and fill them well. In Yellowstone, before the wolf reintroduction, there was a large pack of coyotes documented taking down a bison. A BISON. THAT IS INCREDIBLE. The coyotes were beginning to, effectively, take the niche of the wolf in Yellowstone, and we may very well have seen a species divergence in to larger, more pack-oriented coyotes (the Yellowstone Wolf...Canis yellowstoneii? ;]) if given some thousands of years. However, when the wolves got back they reclaimed their niche with umf and significantly decreased yote populations, which are now back to mostly eating small mammals and scavenging larger kills. Their social structure is so flexible that they can go from super-pack eating bison in the Great Wild to mated pairs of only two coyotes successfully raising pups in urban environments on a diet of small rodents, birds, and other small delicious things (your neighbor's cat anyone?). I've watched coyotes predict traffic, hell, there are coyotes actively living in and being tracked in DOWNTOWN CHICAGO. DOWNTOWN. CHICAGO. I couldn't even handle living there (props to you Chicago-ins out there!). Based on all these niches and roles coyotes can fulfill, is it surprising that we conflict with them? Is it surprising that there would be SO many coat variations out there for trappers to show off to us? THESE ANIMALS ARE REALLY DAMN COOL. Versatility! Intelligence! There is a reason coyote is known as a trickster, we sure don't like animals that can outsmart us, and these animals have successfully collectively laughed in the face of our wishes to exterminate them. So, I'm not advocating we save every coyote and I understand that coyotes cause problems for people (when I was a ranger in a suburban area I often had to call people about their eaten house cat's remains) and effective management is important. They are where they are today and at the numbers they are today because of we humans, and by goodness they are living the American Dream and accomplishing Coyote Manifest Destiny like nobody's business. So please, let's have a little RESPECT for these awesome little canids who have beaten the odds and have taken every opportunity WE have given them. ((So says the person with several coyotes skulls and pelts. I still respect the little buggers!)) Also, anyone interested in a concise history and biology of coyotes (up to the mid-90s) I highly recommend Track of the Coyote by Todd Wilkinson. Even if you hate coyotes, better to know thy enemy, eh?