The American river has its origin from Sierra Nevada west of Tahoe and El Dorado national forests (Whipple, 2013). The river has been in existence since the 1840s when gold was discovered, leading to the massive immigration of European settlers and destruction of the river by mining and exploiting that natural resource. That, though, has not stopped the river from being a remarkable source of high-quality drinking water majorly for the Sacramento region. Additionally, it stands out to be home to many fish species that thrive in these waters. The river is surrounded by a forest that harbors wildlife such as eagles, owls, deer, squirrels, coyotes, beavers, and raccoons, which keep the ecosystem going (Whipple, 2013). The species of interest from the American river ecosystem, in this case, would be the coyotes that live in the forest surrounding the river.
Coyotes are omnivores, which makes them skilled hunters and scavengers (Bradford, 2017). They majorly feed on tiny animals such as squirrels, lizards, frogs, mice, and fish, and larger animals such as deer. Additionally, they often hunt raccoons, which they do in packs or individually, depending on the number of raccoons. In this case, they easily get food from the American river, which is home to over forty fish species. Additionally, squirrels, deer, and raccoons are readily available as they share the same environment. In that case, coyotes get their energy from the foods they eat, which are easily available considering their environment, which is favorable. Surprisingly, coyotes can feed on dead coyotes, making them a unique species that feed on their own kind (Bradford, 2017).
On the other hand, even though coyotes have it all in terms of food availability, they are also targeted by other species. The main predators of coyotes are bigger animals, such as cougars, bears, wolves, and lions (Bradford, 2017). All these animals do not exist in the American river ecosystem, which minimizes the risk of coyotes being hunted. Along the American River, the eagle is the only predator that threatens coyotes’ puppies meaning mature coyotes are not easily targeted. In that case, I hypothesize that they are likely to increase in numbers along the American river because of the lack of a predator threatening their existence. Either way, they threaten the lifespan of tiny animals such as squirrels and fish, and raccoons. That is because as the coyotes increase due to a lack of an overly threatening predator along the American River, the demand for food goes high, causing the extinction of these other species in the river.
Bradford, A. (2017, September 26). Coyote Facts. Retrieved from Live Science: https://www.livescience.com/27976-coyotes.html
Whipple, A. (2013, September 5). Aquatic and Terrestrial Connectivity on the North Fork American River. Retrieved from Center for Watershed Sciences: https://watershed.ucdavis.edu/education/classes/ecology-and-management-sierra-nevada-rivers/flogs/aquatic-and-terrestrial-connectivity-north-fork
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