The wily coyote
(Canis latrans incolatus
), so deeply rooted in the history and lore of the American West, is a newcomer to the Alaska scene
. Coyotes were first noted in the state shortly after the turn of the 20th century.
Populations were first reported on the mainland of Southeast Alaska, then slowly expanded northward into the upper Tanana Valley from which they radiated in all directions. A population peak occurred around 1940; since that time numbers have declined in many areas. There are few records of the coyote north of the Yukon River, although they do occur in this area. Portions of the state with the highest densities of coyotes are the Kenai Peninsula, the Matanuska-Susitna valleys and the Copper River Valley.