Friday, February 15, 2013

U of C's Calgary coyote project to resume next week

***U of C news release

Next week, researchers from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine will resume a tag and release program to fit at least 10 coyotes with GPS collars to record and track their movement around Calgary.

The study – conducted with the support of the City of Calgary – will use the data gained from this GPS tracking to understand how coyotes move around the Calgary urban environment and interact with humans, domestic animals and other urban wildlife.

“The data that we hope to collect from this study will also contribute to other ongoing studies we are carrying out with support from the City of Calgary,” says Alessandro Massolo, assistant professor of wildlife health ecology in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

“These studies include an examination of gastrointestinal parasites in Calgary dogs, urban coyotes and rodents, and another on dog fecal contamination of city parks. All of these are part of a broad, multi-year research program into wildlife health ecology here in Calgary that we hope will provide real, tangible benefits to the community."

The findings from these studies will inform the City of Calgary’s future decision-making to improve the management of Calgary’s natural areas, ensuring a better and healthier environment for people, their pets and wildlife.

The tag and release phase of this study originally began in August 2012 before the City of Calgary requested a hiatus. Prior to the original launch, and again over the past few months, the study has been subject to rigorous academic ethics approval.

“The catch and release equipment is humane and not intended to injure animals or people,” says Massolo. “The devices are toothless, padded with rubber and designed to hold the foot of the coyote. They are configured to ensure the pressure exerted by the device will not fracture or break the limbs of an animal.

“The whole aim of this study is to track coyotes in their movement – hurting them not only runs against our ethics as people who work with and care about animals, it is counter-productive to the research my students and I are undertaking.”

“The devices will only be active between dusk and dawn in wooded or bushland sites in designated on-leash or no-dog areas, so they will not affect the way people use our parks and natural areas if they follow existing City bylaws and regulations.”

For more information, please visit or the U of C's Coyote Study webpage.

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