Coyotes are at home in many urban areas. Smart, silent, and skilled predators, they help keep rodent populations in check and play an important role in suburban and urban ecosystems while, for the most part, staying completely out of sight from humans. While many people are quick to fear these intelligent animals and blame them for the disappearance of a cat or small dog, the reality is that the majority of urban coyotes stay well clear of humans (and Fluffy) as much as they can help it.
Biologists around the country are working to understand more about how coyotes function in such populated settings and their research can go a long way for both calming people's nerves as well as teach us how we can maintain the distance between coyotes and humans that keeps coexistence peaceful. Part of this research includes trapping, collaring, and releasing coyotes then spending years tracking them to learn more about their daily lives.
Check out this great video from Metro Parks biologists and park partners. They trap a coyote, complete a few medical tests and then release it to be part of their collared coyote research.
Actual conflicts with coyotes are really quite rare, considering how widespread the species has become across the US even in the most densely populated urban areas. And biologists want to keep it that way. This research is all part of helping both the scientific community and the public know more about how to coexist with these amazing animals. This fascinating short video explains so much about the how and why of studying coyotes.
If you spot a coyote in your neighborhood, remember that it is not something to fear but to respect and enjoy at a distance. Take time to learn the best practices for coexisting with coyotes -- which includes making sure they have no reason to come into your own back yard -- so that we can benefit from the important benefits like rodent control that coyotes provide for us for free.