Ohio State Coyote Expert to Be Featured on PBS Show 'Nature' Jan. 22

Stan Gehrt

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State University’s Stan Gehrt, a noted authority on urban coyotes, will be one of the experts featured in next week’s episode of the PBS show “Nature.”

“Meet the Coywolf,” a look at the origin and spread of a new coyote-wolf hybrid in northeastern North America, including into cities such as Boston, New York and Toronto, airs at 8 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, Jan. 22, on PBS (check local listings).

After the broadcast, the film will be available for online streaming at pbs.org/nature.  

Gehrt is a wildlife ecologist in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. As part of his work, he leads the Chicago-area Cook County Coyote Project, the largest study ever on urban coyotes.

“No one has been studying coyotes in urban areas as long as he has, and his breadth of knowledge gathered over many, many months and years in the field is unrivaled,” said the film’s producer-director, Susan Fleming. “The combination of his knowledge and his incredible work ethic made him an invaluable resource for the film.”

Filming in the field: Evan Wilson (background, facing toward camera), an Ohio State graduate student of Gehrt's, and research technicians Michael Glow and Heidi Garbe, both with the Chicago area's Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, take samples from a coyote pup while Fleming's crew records the work. (Photo: Copyright 2013 Coy Wolf Inc.)

The coywolf is a mixture of the western coyote and eastern wolf. Scientists think it originated in eastern Canada less than 100 years ago.

Other experts in the film discuss the coywolf’s size and anatomical differences, its surprising pack behavior in Ontario, Canada’s Algonquin Provincial Park, and radio-tracking research showing where and how the animal is moving into cities.

Fleming and Gehrt first worked together on the 2012 PBS “Nature” episode “Raccoon Nation,” which Fleming directed. Gehrt also studies raccoons.

“During an all-night shoot where Stan, his assistant Heidi, my cameraman and I were locked in a mosquito-filled van all night, as our remote-sensor, infrared cameras captured video of cats interacting with raccoons nearby, I started to talk to Stan about my next film project, which was on coyotes,” Fleming said.

“In the wee small hours of the morning, all he kept saying was, ‘Studying an animal (the coyote) this smart is really tough, it can be heartbreaking,’ then he would chuckle and shake his head.

“The head shake said it all. I knew he was a good scientist, but that chuckle and head shake said I was in the company of someone who had a deep understanding and respect for these animals. That's when I knew he had to be in the film.”

Ohio State CFAES video: Gehrt discusses the growing number of urban coyotes, whether they pose a risk to people and his long-term study in Chicago.

Gehrt’s coyote research also has been featured by NPR, ABC News, CBC News, the Los Angeles Times, Audubon Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine and the National Geographic Channel’s “Killed by Coyotes.”

Gehrt is an associate professor and Extension wildlife specialist in the college’s School of Environment and Natural Resources.

He holds appointments with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Ohio State University Extension, which are the college’s research and outreach arms, respectively.

“Meet the Coywolf” is a production of Coy Wolf Inc. in association with THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

- 30 -

Editor: WNET's press materials for the film are online at http://www.thirteen.org/13pressroom/press-release/nature-season-32-meet-the-coywold/.

CFAES News Team
For more information, contact: 

Stan Gehrt