pet news

JUNE 24, 2015

Non-releasable coyotes become protective foster parents

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COYOTE BABIESSouthwest Wildlife is currently caring for 26 coyote puppies. Every time we get orphaned coyote puppies in, we cross our fingers that these little youngsters will stay wild enough to be released. Unfortunately, our animal care staff must handle the babies during feeding and veterinary check-ups. If these coyotes lose their fear of people, then they will not be good candidates for release.

What works great to keep baby animals wild is to put them in with "foster parents" who will teach them to stay wild and how to survive on their own once they are old enough. At Southwest Wildlife we have some sanctuary residents who must stay in captivity the rest of their lives due to debilitating injuries that prevent them from flourishing in the wild. While these animals have permanent injuries, some of them act very wild still. These make the perfect foster parents for orphaned youngsters.

Most recently, we have begun testing some of our sanctuary coyote residents to see if they would do well as foster parents. We don't just simply throw the pups in with these adults. We first have their enclosures side by side and see how the pups and the adults react to each other. If the adults begin regurgitating food for the pups to eat, this is a wonderful sign! In the wild, adult coyotes would regurgitate food for their pups as their main meals growing up.

Seeing coyote adults who are unrelated to pups doing this behavior is amazing to see. Not only that, but the coyote foster parents also start acting very protective of the pups and help to teach them to hide and stay away from people. This is a HUGE help to increase these pups' chances of eventually being back in the wild.

We put up game cameras in these enclosures so we can monitor the behaviors and progress of these new families, without disturbing them or increasing their exposure to humans. These videos are not only helpful to us to know how our animals are doing, but these videos could also aid in further research on foster parent studies in wildlife.

Our first coyote foster parent to enter into this program is a male coyote named Sky who has three legs. He quickly took to the young pups with regurgitating for them daily and is VERY protective of them.

With all of the heartbreaking moments we see as a wildlife rescue, seeing the foster parents care for these pups truly touches our hearts. Nature provides wonderful miracles.

If you can help support the mission of caring for these miraculous animals, please donate as often and as generously as you are able. Visit

Wildlife Clinic/Emergencies: (480) 471-9109 | Wildlife Education/Tours | 480-471-3621 | Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center | PMB 115 8711 E Pinnacle Peak Rd. | Scottsdale, AZ 85255