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Saying Good-Bye to Evita The Coyote

Evita, One of Southwest Wildlife's Oldest Coyotes, Snuggles in her crate before moving to a quieter spot in the sanctuary

One Valentine's Day last week, our hearts broke a little more with the loss of Evita, one of our long term sanctuary resident coyotes. Read on to hear Daphne Tyler's first hand account.

We said goodbye to our oldest coyote resident Evita last week. Evita was 16 years old, almost double the life expectancy for a wild coyote, and pretty old for a coyote in a sanctuary as well!! Evita was a special coyote who stole the hearts of her life-mate Ollie, the volunteers and staff at SWCC, and the sanctuary guests alike. 

Evita was found as a small pup in 2008, along with her brother. Since the pair were canines, the good Samaritans believed they could keep them and raise them as pets with the rest of their family dogs. It is true that coyotes are canines, however, they do NOT make good pets. Not only is it illegal in AZ to possess wild animals as pets, but it is bad for the coyote as well. Coyotes have special dietary and developmental needs. Evita and her brother were fed an improper diet, and as a result, Evita became ill and required 24-hour medical care. The pair was brought to SWCC, and after the medical team addressed Evita’s immediate needs, it was discovered that both she and her brother had been handled too much by humans, spent to much time with the family dogs, and were unfortunately imprinted and not able to be released. 

SWCC promptly named the pair Evita and Juan (Peron)and they quickly settled in to the sanctuary life. As the pair grew, Evita began exhibiting “alpha” dominant behaviors. This behavior began to be too much for poor Juan, so he was relocated to another part of the sanctuary. Evita enjoyed some time as a single lady, but as coyotes prefer the company of a mate, the search was on for someone that could handle this strong, alpha female. Finally, Evita was introduced to the much younger, and submissive male, Ollie. And the rest is SWCC history! 

Evita and Ollie have been a tour favorite and a mainstay in the first enclosure of the sanctuary’s “small animal side” for many years. The couple could be seen playing, cuddling, giving each other coyote kisses; and also could be heard initiating the yips, barks and howls that have delighted sanctuary guests on tours. Recently, Evita had begun to slow down, her body was getting old and she spent most of her time resting versus playing with Ollie and interacting with guests. After a full medical review, it was determined that she was reaching her twilight years, and it would be best to separate her from Ollie to start the process of saying goodbye. On Valentine’s Day, Evita let us know she was ready to go, and we said goodbye. 

As a volunteer, I am blessed to care for the sanctuary residents and let them touch my heart, but Evita went beyond that and touched my soul. She was loved by so many for such a long time. 

What a privilege it is to work for these wild lives. Thank you for taking this journey with us. 

Please contact us or a wildlife rehabilitator in your area as soon as possible if you ever come across a young wild animal. Wildlife belongs in the wild and rehabbers know best how to get them back there.

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