Posts Tagged: coyotes
Coyote sightings are on the rise in San Francisco, even taking naps in patches of green spaces in the city, reported Uma Chrobak in Popular Science. However, it is unlikely they indicate a change in wildlife behavior, said UC Cooperative Extension human-wildlife interactions advisor Niamh Quinn.
Officials believe the increased sightings may have more to do with a change in human behavior. Many people are at home and bored, so they may staring out the window and going on more walks in their neighborhoods.
Quinn follows five radio-collared coyotes in Los Angeles for a research project. She says her coyotes haven't changed their routines since the shelter-in-place order went into effect, staying in their respective territories, which include areas near a shopping mall and golf course.
The number of coyotes reported in San Francisco on Quinn's Coyote Cacher website isn't unusual, she said.
“People are just at home noticing more things,” she said, "especially in California, we're not all spending five hours a day on the freeway [now], you know?”
If you see coyotes or other wildlife, give them space, Quinn said. “It's very important to keep wildlife wild,” she said. “You should never feed wildlife.”
Some people believe shouting, waving arms and flashing lights will keep coyotes at bay, but UC Cooperative Extenison wildlife-human interaction advisor Niamh Quinn isn't so sure, reported Louis Sahagun in the Los Angeles Times. Like any scientist, she is now conducting a research project to understand whether such hazing deters the wild animals from making their homes in urban areas.
"There is no scientific evidence that hazing alters the behavior of urban coyotes," Quinn said."Yet, it is being pitched as a good option for coyote management."
Quinn is trapping coyotes, sedating them, attaching radio collars, tagging their ears and tracking their movements to understand whether the techniques recommended by some cities and animal rights groups are effective.
“We want to figure out when, where and for how long it actually works, or if it even works at all,” she said. “For the sake of our communities, and coyotes, too.”
Shoes with rubber soles, western cottontail rabbits, birds, avocados, oranges, peaches, candy wrappers and fast-food cartons were among the contents that UC Cooperative Extension human-wildlife interactions advisor Niamh Quinn has found inside the stomachs of urban coyotes, reported Louis Sahagun in the Los Angeles Times.
Quinn is working with Cal State Fullerton graduate student Danielle Martinez to get a clear picture of what is sustaining coyotes that died across Los Angeles and Orange counties.
"This much is clear: coyotes aren't struggling in our urban environments," Quinn said. "They are almost everywhere, continually learning to adapt alongside us."
Quinn also developed the Coyote Cacher web application to catalog reports of coyote sightings throughout California. Users can see when and where coyote interactions occurred.
"Was howling at an ambulance going down PCH toward Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach," a report posted this month said.
"It's very disconcerting. Are they coyote vigilantes or something?” the Times quoted one resident.
In a report presented to the L.A. City Council, the Department of Animal Services said its agency, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and National Park Service had reached a consensus that the coyote population has not grown. The statewide population is between 250,000 and 750,000.
“They're not coming from anywhere, they're just here,” said Niamh Quinn, UC Cooperative Extension vertebrate pest management advisor who specializes in managing human-wildlife conflict. “They're now established in urban communities and they're reproducing successfully.”
Some Southern Californians believe the coyotes move to urban areas because of food and water shortages in the nearby hills, but Quinn disagrees.
“The coyote is going to try to expend the least amount of energy to get the maximum amount of food,” Quinn said. “Why would you stay in a more rural area where you have to go catch a rabbit when you can stick your head in a garbage can and get the same nourishment?”
Timm, who served as director of the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center in Mendocino County, has 27 years of experience dealing with coyote management.
Timm said coyotes can find ample food in suburban and urban areas by scrounging through garbage and compost piles, eating pet food and even small dogs and cats. Water is available in ponds, birdbaths and pools. Some people intentionally feed coyotes.
“The difficulty is there is so little research on coyotes in suburban and urban areas because it is so hard to do,” Timm said.
Research conducted in the early 2000s by Timm and a Cal Poly Pomona professors found that coyotes habituate in urban areas in a predictable manner than can be observed along the following seven steps:
- Increased coyote presence on streets and in yards at night
- An increase in coyotes non-aggressively approaching adults and/or taking pets at night
- Coyotes present on streets or in parks and yards during morning or afternoon hours
- Coyotes chasing or taking pets in the daytime
- Coyotes attacking or taking pets while they are on a leash or near their owners, and coyotes chasing joggers, bicyclists, and other adults
- Coyotes present around children's play areas, schools or parks in the midday hours
- Coyotes acting aggressively toward adults in midday hours
“One of those steps is they start attacking and killing pets,” Timm said. “When they start doing that in the daytime, then it becomes very problematic and some of those coyotes are eventually going to become aggressive toward people."
According to Niamh Quinn, the UC ANR Cooperative Extension area vertebrate pest advisor, based at the UC ANR South Coast Research and Extension Center, there were six recorded coyote bites on humans in Irvine this year.