Thursday, March 07, 2013

I only took a brief trip out to the Cook County Forest Preserve with Heidi Garbe of the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation but it was well worthwhile to see coyote prints all over the snowy ground. The Coyote Project here is looking to understand more about the urban coyote, and its impressive but quiet invasion of the metropolis.

Urban coyotes 

Dogged persistence 

The coyote is quietly conquering urban America 

Mar 9th 2013 | CHICAGO |From the print edition

ON A snowy trail that cuts around the trees is a neat line of paw prints which look as though they were made by a domestic dog. But Heidi Garbe, a research scientist with the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, can tell that they were made by a special kind of dog: Canis latrans, the coyote. Its footprint is more oval and its tracks more linear than those made by any household pet.

Around 2,000 coyotes are reckoned to live in Chicago and its suburbs, and it seems likely that the animal is thriving in many other built-up parts of the country. Once restricted to the south-western United States, it spread across the continent during the 20th century and more recently made its way into large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Boston and even New York. In 2010 a particularly intrepid specimen was caught in a parking lot in Tribeca, a trendy neighbourhood in Manhattan.

In Chicago, the Cook County Coyote Project has been trying to understand how the species is conquering the metropolis. Part of the answer is that the coyote is clever, extremely adaptable and reproduces quickly. They are opportunistic eaters and will eagerly consume rabbits, rats, Canada geese, fruit, insects and family pets. They may also be filling an empty niche for a top predator that was once filled by wolves. [More...]

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