Coyote mistaken for dog released with companion rescued in RI

The coyote pup was so young when she was rescued from the side of the road in Smithfield last spring that she had to be bottle-fed and her eyes were just starting to open.

Wildlife rehabilitators later matched her with a male coyote initially mistaken for a German Shepherd when he was rescued in Massachusetts.

The coyotes became inseparable friends and were released together into the wild on Wednesday.

“While some coyotes may choose to separate upon release, something tells us these two could be bonded for life, the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Mass., said in a Facebook post Wednesday.

The Rhode Island coyote first received care at the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island, then was transferred to Cape Cod Rehabilitation Center, so the pair could be raised together to encourage their wild instincts.

“The two became friends very quickly (and) have been inseparable ever since. Because they had each other as companions, they remained wild and (suspicious) of humans,” the Cape organization said. “Releasing them as a unit will hopefully increase their survival rate in the wild.”

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The message did not specify where they were released.

The post provided more information about the Massachusetts coyote, whose rescue attracted “national attention”, the Cape Town center said.

“After 6 long months of rehabilitation, this pup has made incredible progress. He is wild in every way and exhibits all the correct behaviors and skills,” the post said. “Weighing just over 40 pounds, he has a good appetite and is increasingly active in the large outdoor enclosure.”

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A family in Massachusetts found the coyote “wandering and distressed by the side of a busy road” and took him home before realizing he was not a German Shepherd.

The Rhode Island coyote pup was found on the side of a busy road in Smithfield in late April and brought to the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island.

“I guess something happened with mom and that little girl was abandoned,” Kristin Fletcher, executive director of the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island, said in April.

Rhode Island rescuers then transferred the pup to the Cape Cod agency, and they were gradually reunited.

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“It was a bit slow at first, but once they felt they quickly started bonding,” Cape Wildlife said in a previous Facebook post. “Before long they were wrestling and playing with each other, which is crucial for their normal development.

Rescuers took a little longer to introduce the pair because the female rescued in Rhode Island is about two weeks younger and smaller than the male.

jperry@providencejournal.com

(401) 277-7614

On Twitter: @jgregoryperry

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