Ann Arbor's Creature Conservancy director, coyote pups set to appear on David Letterman tonight
“Most of these are infant animals,” said Marsh. “They’re relatively small, but it meant there was a lot of bottle feeding, and then a few rest areas, so we could let the coyotes out on leashes to do their business. It was an interesting ride.”
The coyote pups, in fact, are the reason Marsh became involved with the trip. Peter and Piper, born to different litters in early April, originally came from the Kalahari Wildlife Park in Ohio; but because the park didn’t have room to keep and raise the pups, The Creature Conservancy adopted them in early May.
Meanwhile, TCC has also developed a relationship with the Columbus Zoo; so when Marsh recently spoke by phone with a zoo representative, discussing a fox in need of rescue, the woman mentioned that the Zoo’s Jack Hanna—a longtime staple on “Letterman”—needed more animals for his upcoming TV segment, and the coyote pups might be perfect.
“It’s only been in the works a couple of weeks, which makes it more chaotic,” said Marsh.
Today, Marsh planned to have brunch with Hanna, and then the animals were to be packed up and transported to the studio.
“We show up at the studio with a dozen or so animals, because there are other animals coming from other locations, too,” said Marsh. “The producers actually pick who goes on. They haven’t had coyotes on before, so it’s pretty likely they’ll be on. I’ll be walking on stage and plopping one on Letterman’s desk, and giving him a bottle to feed him, and then the other coyote will be put in Jack Hanna’s lap for him to feed. So that’s the plan. However, when you’re working with wild animals, you know, sometimes you modify things on the fly.”
After Peter and Piper’s television debut, they will return to TCC, where they will be a permanent part of the group’s “educational group of animals.”
“Coyotes tend to be in the news a lot, because their populations are really high in our area, and in general,” said Marsh. “There are more coyotes now than when the Europeans set foot on this continent. The point of them in our programs is, some animals actually do really well with human interference. We came in, and we took out their biggest predators, which were wolves. We eliminated the wolves to protect our livestock, and that left an opening for the coyotes.”
“ But Coyotes are only 40 pounds,” said Marsh. “They’re not the 100-pound, bloody-toothed carnivores that some people think of them as. We’re just trying to get the facts out to people, so hopefully, they’re making future decisions on facts and not emotions.”
Marsh offered these perspectives by phone, while sharing a Manhattan hotel room with the coyote pups.
“I have my own suite, and the coyotes are running around and having a grand time,” said Marsh. “If you go to our Facebook page, you’ll see pictures of them sitting on the couch watching ‘Law and Order.’ They are probably the least frazzled by this whole event—of the humans and animals involved. They’re totally cool with it.”