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Major Questions

The Edmonton Urban Coyote Project aims to answer questions about urban coyote behaviour to help reduce the frequency of negative human-coyote interactions. These research questions include:

• Where do coyotes live in the city?
• What kinds of habitats do coyotes prefer?
• How big are urban coyote home ranges?
• How do coyotes move through the city?
• At what times are urban coyotes most active?
• What do urban coyotes eat?
• What do Edmontonians know and think about urban coyotes?


Current Research

Beginning in 2018, we are working collaboratively with the City of Edmonton to place remote cameras in parks and natural areas throughout the city across a range of human density. The cameras are triggered by the combination of motion and heat to detect the presence of an animal, which can include people. To maintain the privacy of individuals, all photos are reviewed by project staff and any that could identify people are eliminated immediately.

The photos of wildlife will indicate how use by coyotes and other wildlife varies among areas of different types, seasons, and times of day. This information will contribute to policies that promote coexistence of humans and wildlife in future.


Past Research

Between 2009 and 2014, we fitted Global Positioning System (GPS) collars on over 20 coyotes. These collars stored the location of the coyote every three hours, which we used to calculate home range sizes, habitat use, and movement rates using computer mapping software. This work was led by Maureen Murray with support from Animal Damage Control.

Some conclusions of that work are described below. Copies of the publications cannot be provided on this website owing to copyright laws, but they can be found on researchgate here by searching for lead author Murray.

1. Coyotes with mange, a skin parasite, have larger home ranges, poorer diets, make more use of residential areas and are more active during the day, all potentially contributing to conflict with people (Murray et al., 2015 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

2. Coyotes that are active and cross roads only late at night are more likely to avoid collisions with vehicles (Murray and St. Clair 2015 Behavioural Ecology).

3. Urban coyotes have broader diets than rural animals; coyotes in conflict had less protein in their diets (Murray et al., 2015 Ecography).

4. Urban compost attracts coyotes, contains toxins, and may promote disease (Murray et al., 2016 Ecohealth).

5. Food, shelter and lack of fences attract urban coyotes to backyards (Murray and St. Clair 2017 Journal of Wildlife Management).