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Summer 2011

Newsletter Archive


Living with Coyotes

article image Coyotes (Canis latrans) exist throughout North American and their flexible feeding and reproductive behavior allows them to persist in urban environments. Unfortunately, research has found that some coyotes become habituated through access to human attractants (e.g. garbage, bird seed, or fruits from trees), which has led to serious conflicts with people and pets. As habituation is one of the most significant contributors to conflict with coyotes, we have the opportunity to manage coyotes by managing people. Hence, understanding the human dimensions (e.g., attitudes, values, beliefs, and actions) of wildlife issues is at least as important as understanding the ecology of the species).

The Miistakis Institute has established a Community Based Research (CBR) framework to address human coyote conflicts in the City of Calgary.

Presently there are three major challenges to coexistence with coyotes in Calgary:

1) coyotes are eating a substantial amount of garbage (16% of scats surveyed showed evidence of human source foods), which leads to habitation;
2) there is no systematic program in place to easily track observations and monitor changes in coyote behavior, or to identify hotspots where attractants may be encouraging coyote presence and there may be a need to provide education; and
3) there is no central education source that can provide continuous information.

Living with Coyotes is rooted in the concept of experiential learning and the recognized need for increased public participation in local wildlife issues. There are many perceived benefits to integrating citizens into knowledge production: promoting awareness of local issues, building community capacity to enhance public involvement in stewardship, fostering an environment for a stronger public role in decision making, and the generation of data collected at a lower cost than conventional science. Living with Coyotes provides an opportunity for scientists, citizens and decision makers to work collaboratively and learn together about coyotes in Calgary. Ultimately, this approach will increase the individual's knowledge on coyotes as well as promote a community informed on wildlife conservation issues whom are more likely to take action to protect the wildlife in the region.

Please go to www.rockies.ca/coyotes for more information.

Community based research (CBR) is a collaborative process with the purpose of creating an environment for learning and social change while fostering citizen participation. The CBR process aims to create a community of learners with the ability to develop flexible adaptable solutions to their problems.