Hybridization Dynamics between Wolves and Coyotes in Central Ontario

On September 5, 2018, the Wolf Conservation Center hosted a webinar with wildlife research biologist John F. Benson to discuss hybridization dynamics between eastern wolves and coyotes.

Eastern wolves (Canis lycaon) have hybridized extensively with coyotes (C. latrans) and gray wolves (C. lupus) in Ontario but little is known about the mechanisms underlying Canis hybridization. Benson discussed his intensive field study in Algonquin Provincial Park (APP) and the adjacent unprotected landscape where he investigated Ontario canids, hybrid zone dynamics, wolf ecology, and canid predation.


John Benson is an assistant professor of vertebrate ecology at the University of Nebraska. He is currently working on a number of collaborative research projects around North America on wolves, caribou, mountain lions, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and white sharks. He previously modeled population viability of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains as part of a collaborative study with the National Park Service and UCLA. John earned his Ph.D. studying hybridization dynamics between wolves and coyotes in central Ontario. Before beginning his PhD, he studied the highly endangered Florida panther as a research scientist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. As a master’s student, John led field operations for a reintroduction effort with federally threatened Louisiana black bears. This involved capturing females and their newborn cubs in tree dens and releasing them in areas of suitable habitat where they had been extirpated. John did his undergraduate degree in wildlife at Humboldt State University in northern California and previously worked on studies with sea birds, red foxes, Polar bears, Canada lynx, and mountain lions before starting graduate school.

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