The Long Beach State University Mammal Lab recently launched a survey to study coyotes’ behaviors, specifically their actions towards household pets.
Coyotes are sometimes seen in urban areas of California and these sightings sometimes include encounters with domestic animals.
”Coyotes are very numerous and always have been,” said Peter Tira, spokesman for California Fish and Wildlife. “They exist in every county in California from the most urban neighborhoods to the most remote stretches of the state and every habitat in between.”
A survey launched by the CSULB Mammal Lab in July asked local residents from Long Beach, Orange County and other regions in Southern California to describe their personal coyote encounters and how it relates to their own pets. The lab hopes to gain as many submissions possible throughout the fall semester.
Since launching the study, the CSULB Mammal Lab has received over 1,200 submissions from the communities surrounding the university.
The staff created this survey to see if coyotes target certain pet species or breeds more than others. They hope the study will create awareness for pet owners and prevent coyote deaths.
“The information may tell us if some types of pets are more at risk than others,” said Mammal Lab Director Theodore Stankowich. “The owners of those pets may want to be aware of those risks and take extra precautions to keep them safe.”
The coyote survey is being led by masters student Kathy Vo and Max Amaya and is supervised by Stankowich. Stankowich said he has always been fascinated by the adaptability of the coyote species.
“Coyotes show a huge amount of individual variation in personality and boldness, and this makes them extraordinarily adaptable to new habitats,” he said. “They can live in natural rural areas with more wild prey or the most urban concrete jungles with more food from human sources.”
In the fall Stankowich, Vo and Amaya will work on putting together a team of CSULB students to analyze the survey results.
The team also has plans to work with several high schools in the area to teach students about coyotes and their behaviors.
There is no planned date for when the survey is scheduled to end, but the team plans to get their results analyzed and have answers by the end of the school year.
“We are going to be collecting data for at least the next nine to 12 months,” Stankowich said. “We then plan to publish our findings in a professional journal, present them at conferences and public informational events.”