Interactions between wolves (Canis lupus) and coyotes (C. latrans) can have significant impacts on their distribution and abundance. We compared diets of recently translocated Mexican wolves (C. l. baileyi) with diets of resident coyotes in Arizona and New Mexico, USA. We systematically collected scats during 2000 and 2001. Coyote diet was composed mostly of mammalian species, followed by vegetation and insects. Elk (Cervus elaphus) was the most common item in coyote scats. Mexican wolf diet had a higher proportion of large mammals and fewer small mammals than coyote diet; however, elk was also the most common food item in Mexican wolf scats. Our results suggest that Mexican wolf diet was more similar to coyote diet than previously reported, but coyotes had more seasonal variation. Considering results in other areas, we expect that Mexican wolves will have a negative impact on coyotes through direct mortality and possibly competition. Reintroduction of Mexican wolves may have great impacts on communities by changing relationships among other predators and their prey.
Additional publication details
Comparison of Mexican wolf and coyote diets in Arizona and New Mexico