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CoyoteBytes.org A Website to Inform Urban Coyote Management

  • Author(s): Timm, Robert M.
  • Tuxen-Bettman, Karin
  • Kelly, Nina Maggi
  • Freund, Jeremy
  • et al.
Abstract

Conflicts between urban coyotes and humans have increased in recent years, particularly in the West. These include aggression and attacks on children, adults, and on pets; and damage to drip irrigation systems, garden crops, and other resources. News reports and our contact with agencies have informed us of more than 110 incidents in California alone, most within the past decade, in which humans were bitten by coyotes. However, few data are available on incidents of pet loss or other human-coyote conflicts in urban habitats. We suspect many conflicts occur because of human behaviors that results in coyote habituation; we hypothesize that with informed management, most are preventable. We have developed a web site, http://www.CoyoteBytes.org, as a tool to provide science-based management recommendations to homeowners and municipal officials to reduce coyote conflicts in urban / suburban areas. In addition to providing information, the website allows individuals to voluntarily upload photos and video of urban coyotes, and to submit first-hand reports describing conflicts and encounters. The web site contains an incident map, an Internet-enabled Geographic Information Systems (webGIS) tool, allowing coyote incidents to be displayed via a dynamic mapping interface by type of incident and by progress through time. The website became functional in September 2007 and is being pilot-tested in San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles counties, California. The information being collected concerning coyote encounters and incidents should, over time, provide a means for a more complete analysis of this problem, thereby improving our management recommendations. A better factual understanding of the dimensions of the problem, as well as impacts of various management strategies currently in use, should help reduce some of the polarized atmosphere surrounding cities’ and counties’ attempts to find appropriate solutions to these conflicts.

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