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Vermont naturalist to present slides and talk on coyotes Dec. 7

CORNWALL — Coyotes and foxes are not uncommon in Addison County, seen in woodlots and fields, along hedgerows and even in backyards. What traits do they share with each other and with their canine cousins: wolves and dogs? And, what role do these predators have in maintaining a healthy ecosystem? Vermont naturalist Sue Morse will be in Cornwall on Thursday, Dec. 7, from 7-9 p.m., to answer these questions in a slideshow/lecture entitled “Cousins of Our Best Friends: Wolves, Coyotes and Foxes.” 
Sue Morse is the founder of Keeping Track, an organization devoted to training professional biologists and citizen scientists in wildlife monitoring skills. An award-winning photographer and an expert in natural history and tracking, she has studied wolves, coyotes and foxes in habitats across North America. She describes these canidae as intelligent, loving and loyal, and feels that they have much to teach us about our own beloved pets.
The Eastern coyote is a relative newcomer to the State, arriving in the 1940’s. A successful predator that can adapt to a variety of habitats, it has an important role in the Vermont ecosystem. However, the coyote is also one of the least understood and, because of its occasional conflicts with humans, one of the most maligned of Vermont’s wild animals. It is the only furbearing mammal that can be hunted year around.
Foxes occupy a different, but also important place in our ecosystem. As an omnivore that eats a wide variety of plants and animals, it helps to keep populations of rodents, rabbits, and squirrel in check. Many people are unaware that not all foxes are red. Gray foxes are native to Vermont. Slightly smaller than the red fox, they prefer wooded habitat. They are also known as the flying fox or tree fox because of their semi-retractable claws that allow them to climb trees, pursuing tree dwelling animals, or attacking prey from above.
The third canid featured in the program, the wolf, was once one of Vermont’s largest ranging predator, dominating this and other northeastern states. It became extinct in Vermont in the late 19th century when woodlands were cleared for farmsteads, thus destroying much of its natural range. Sue will share her photographs and personal adventures with wolves in North America.
The presentation will take place at Bingham Memorial Elementary School, 112 School Road (Route 30), in Cornwall, and is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Mary Dodge at [email protected].

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