Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Coyote use of the urban core: Variation in movements, activity, diet, and conflict implications (#189)

Stanley D Gehrt 1 , Edward H Ellington 1 , Seth D Newsome 2 , Shane McKenzie 3 , Chris Anchor 4
  1. Ohio State University, Columbus, OHIO, United States
  2. Dept Ecology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
  3. Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, Dundee, Illinois, United States
  4. Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Elgin, Illinois, United States

Coyotes (Canis latrans) have recently become top predators in most metropolitan areas across North America. Despite their ubiquity, the full extent to which they exploit urban landscapes is still poorly understood, especially within the urban core or the most heavily developed parts of the metro area. Our overall objective was to provide a more detailed analysis of coyote use of a heavily urbanised landscape, including the urban core, compared to suburban or natural areas. As part of a long-term monitoring project, since 2000 we have captured and marked over 1,070 coyotes from the Chicago, Illinois, USA, metropolitan area, an area that includes a population density of over 9 million people. We used the full sample for demographic analyses, which revealed largely consistent survival rates across years and across the landscape, including highly urban territories. We used a subset of intensively-monitored GPS-collared coyotes for analyses of space use for resident animals. Urban core territories (MCP) were relatively large owing to dispersed habitat patches, but more refined models (LoCoH) revealed similar-sized use areas across landscape classes. Diet profiles obtained from stable isotope analysis revealed substantial individual variation in diet, ranging from exclusive natural prey to exclusive anthropogenic foods, even for those residing within the urban core.  Coyotes are now exploiting nearly all areas of the Chicago landscape, including the urban core; nevertheless, the frequency of nuisance coyotes has remained low across years regardless of location or length of time near people.