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May. 17, 2021 | Monday
Local News
Large white 'coywolf' seen in NOTL
This image of a “coywolf” resembles the animal Betsy Masson saw. (Wikimedia Commons)

Betsy Masson
Special to The Lake Report

A large white coyote or wolf-like animal has been spotted several times wandering around Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The first known sighting took place on the morning of March 24 when homeowners who back onto One Mile Creek saw what they described as a white animal resembling a wolf. 

They reported this to their neighbours and urged them to be careful when out gardening. On the same morning, a group of schoolchildren spotted the animal while walking to their bus stop.

Nearly a month later, a similar-looking animal was seen coming from the direction of One Mile Creek and crossing Simcoe Street. It was last seen in the graveyard behind St. Andrew's Church, headed toward Mississagua Street.

Most recently, the animal was seen on the evening of April 23 accompanied by a smaller one near One Mile Creek. They passed within six feet of people in their backyard. That night, their neighbours heard a loud howling sound and concluded that the animal had been in a fight with its prey. 

Niagara-on-the-Lake animal control officer Ken Reid says two such animals have been seen at the corner of King and Mary streets and that he, himself, has seen one. He thinks the animal is a large coyote.

Coyotes are afraid of humans, Reid noted, and when he saw it, he yelled and the animal ran off.

Reid thinks there must be a den in the swampy area of One Mile Creek on the Commons. He also believes these animals have become bold now because there is not as much activity in town now due to the pandemic.

According to information found online, coyotes, as such, no longer exist in Ontario. DNA studies done in the 1990s showed that they are now a genetic hybrid of eastern coyotes and western wolves and should be termed "coywolves."

They are most frequently out at dusk, during the night and in the early morning hours. People with dogs and small children are advisied to be particularly careful at those times.

There are no known photos of this coywolf, but if the anyone obtains one, please contact The Lake Report at editor@niagaranow.com.

 

 

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