The Gotham Coyote Project (GCP) is an ongoing effort to study the ecology, population growth, and range expansion of eastern coyotes (Canis latrans) in New York City. Thanks to a grant from the Dorr Foundation, GCP is able to expand its outreach and education efforts to engage more partners, students, and citizen scientists in efforts to better understand this resilient species and why they’re important to the ecosystem.
With the extirpation of wolves in the Northeast U.S., coyotes have largely taken on the role of top predator where they occur. When the GCP began, there were very few coyotes in the Bronx, and there were no confirmed breeding sites. Coyotes are now found in all large wooded parks in the Bronx, are crossing into Queens and Manhattan more than ever before, and are poised to colonize Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. The results from studying this event will help scientists and managers understand how coyotes are changing urban ecosystems as they expand their range into new wildlife and human communities. Knowledge of how humans relate to or value wildlife and biological communities is vital to aligning society with both the ethics and pragmatism of sustainability, resiliency, and conservation.
With an increase in coyote sightings in urban/suburban areas, negative interactions between humans and coyotes may increase. Education on coyote ecology, how to minimize risk, and best practices regarding coexistence can minimize the already low risks to people and pets.
An important objective of expanding the Gotham Coyote Project is to engage high school and undergraduate students in hands-on research to foster positive attitudes towards scientific career pathways and scientific research. Engaging students in scientific study requires educators to connect learning with real-life experiences. Through our roster of partner-affiliated high school research programs, the Gotham Coyote Project gives NYC-area students direct experience in the full research process: deploying cameras, collecting and managing data, analysis, and presentation of results.
The Dorr Foundation grant also enabled GCP to purchase two wildlife cameras to survey coyotes and other wildlife. Cameras have become increasingly valuable in MRG’s participation in black bear and fisher studies, monitoring red fox and white-tailed deer populations, and in our Wildlife & Habitat Consultations.
We still need more wildlife cameras! Please consider buying or contributing to the purchase of a camera and its accompanying accessories (rechargeable batteries, memory card, security box, and lock). Your donation of $500 buys one complete package. Of course a donation of any amount you choose is welcome, too!
Click here to donate, or send your check to Gotham Coyote Project, Mianus River Gorge, 167 Mianus River Road, Bedford, NY 10506. THANK YOU!