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Are Coyotes An Invasive Species? WUNC’s ‘Creep’ Debunks Myths And Misperceptions

A new audio documentary by WUNC reporters Laura Pellicer and Elizabeth Friend explores wildlife living in our midst.
A new audio documentary by WUNC reporters Laura Pellicer and Elizabeth Friend explores wildlife living in our midst.

Creeping, crawling, thriving, surviving … no matter where we look, animal species are living in our midst. Some survive despite the challenges and hazards human life imposes, while others thrive because of it. 

Host Anita Rao discusses the new WUNC audio documentary CREEP with co-hosts Laura Pellicer, WUNC’s digital news producer, and Elizabeth Friend, reporter and independent producer.

A new WUNC audio special, hosted by journalists Laura Pellicer and Elizabeth Friend, explores the way one particular species has evolved in tandem with human neighbors: coyotes. When the pandemic-instigated lockdown forced many to work and learn from home, coyote sightings occurred in cities across the country. Pellicer and Friend set out to discover more about the increase in sightings, and they ended uncovering mysteries they weren’t expecting to find. What constitutes an invasive species? Why are coyotes one of the most hated animals in North America?

Their audio documentary “Creep” finds some answers to these questions in the words of top coyote researchers. Host Anita Rao talks with Pellicer, WUNC digital news producer, and Friend, reporter and independent producer, about the audio special’s conception, the history of coyote populations in North Carolina and the coyote’s curious appetite for persimmons. 

Copyright 2020 North Carolina Public Radio

Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
Kaia Findlay is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show. Kaia grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a household filled with teachers and storytellers. In elementary school, she usually fell asleep listening to recordings of 1950s radio comedy programs. After a semester of writing for her high school newspaper, she decided she hated journalism. While pursuing her bachelor’s in environmental studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, she got talked back into it. Kaia received a master’s degree from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism, where she focused on reporting and science communication. She has published stories with Our State Magazine, Indy Week, and HuffPost. She most recently worked as the manager for a podcast on environmental sustainability and higher education. Her reporting passions include climate and the environment, health and science, food and women’s issues. When not working at WUNC, Kaia goes pebble-wrestling, takes long bike rides, and reads while hammocking.