An orphaned coyote pup, now named Cody, came to the Buttonwood Park Zoo in July of 2014 from Minnesota. Cody was found at 4 weeks old and was bottle fed by a wildlife rehabilitator in order to survive. Since Cody was imprinted to humans, he could no longer be released into the wild and was welcomed to the Buttonwood Park Zoo. Zoo staff spent several months acclimating Cody to his new surroundings with the goal of him being an animal ambassador for his species. Since coyotes are shy and skittish by nature, it took considerable time and effort to get Cody to become comfortable with all the sights and sounds of the zoo. Visitors may now regularly see zoo staff and Cody out on walks exploring the zoo, educating visitors about coyotes, and allowing an up close look at one of the zoo’s newest members. Many of the animals residing at the zoo, like Cody, are orphaned or injured wildlife that can no longer be returned to the wild. Our Animal Ambassador Program allows imprinted wildlife to become an instrumental component of our wildlife education programs and provides a home to many native animals that would have otherwise been euthanized. When Cody is not walking around the zoo, he can be seen in the coyote exhibit with Edison. Edison, 14 years old, was also orphaned as a pup in Massachusetts.
Coyotes are often featured in fables and children’s stories as clever and smart. They have proven to be just that by being extremely adaptable. Once found in the prairies and deserts of the United States, they are now found throughout North America and into Central America. Finding their way into mountains, forests, and even cities, they have become an important part of these ecosystems. Their range has expanded in large part due to the removal of wolves from most of its range. Coyotes breed more quickly than wolves and have a more varied diet, allowing them to thrive. Because coyotes will eat whatever is available to them, it is recommended that people do not feed stray animals in their yards, do not leave food scraps out, and secure trash.