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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Glad that Berry College biologist Chris Mowry is "standing large and in charge" down in Atlanta pushing the coexistence theme as it relates to coyotes and humans.............We have previously reported on the South Carolina Coyote Study that "pointed fingers" at Coyotes for knocking down Fawn numbers.........This Study runs counter to most other Studies coming out of Pennsylvania, New York and other states that state that Coyotes do kill fawns but do not not cause debilitating impacts to the deer populations of those states..............And with Eastern Coyotes up north a good 10 or more pounds heavier than those in the southeast(and therefore Coyotes up north should be that much more successful deer hunters than down south), seems that the South Carolina Study is open to skepticism................Mowry's Atlanta Coyote Study has been going on since 2006 and he plans another 5 years of research on the population in and around this Metropolis........Concurrently, Wildlife Ecology Professor Mike Chamberlain out of Emory University is running a Research Study in and around Augusta and Auburn Georgia..................Back to Chris Mowry who states an unequivocal fact that we must educate our families, friends and neighbors about: “Removing/killing coyotes simply opens up territory for others to move in and occupy"............ “When left alone, coyotes will control their own numbers based on available resources (primarily food)"............. "Controlling and limiting those resources is the best management strategy"

deer populations via fawn predation..........

2 major studies underway in Georgia, Alabama involving coyote research

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 Berry College Associate Professor Chris Mowryand his 

students on the sprawling campus started tracking coyotes

 back in 2006. 

Now, Mowry and his research team are reaching into the Atlanta suburbs with the Atlanta Coyote Project to see how the beasts and humans live side by side in urban areas.

“What’s conflict to some people is enjoyable to others; conflict is a relative term,” Mowry said.
The teacher, who lives in Cobb County, has been speaking about the human vs. coyote situation to community groups for years, so he decided to take his research into the suburbs around Atlanta.
The instructor said the most common response for many is to call a trapper, which Mowry said does not actually address the situation.
“Removing/killing coyotes simply opens up territory for others to move in and occupy,” Mowry said. “When left alone, coyotes will control their own numbers based on available resources (primarily food). Controlling and limiting those resources is the best management strategy.”

Mowry created a Face­book page, Atlanta Coyote Project, and launched an online survey to help educate the public about the animals.
“We’ve had almost 2,000 people respond to our survey.” Mowry said. He is keenly interested in how coyotes are surviving in urban environments.
“What are they eating? What are their territory sizes like and what are their movement patterns like?” Mowry said.
In his first major study on the Berry campus and Rome area, Mowry collared nine animals and followed them for five or six years, as long as the batteries in the collars would last.
“We caught one male twice, once in 2006 and once in 2007 and I’m sure he was wondering what he did do to deserve this,” Mowry said.
One of the first animals caught in 2006 was a female. Mowry said they tracked her for a couple of years, and then lost contact. In December of 2013, he got a call about the shooting of a coyote off Smith Road. It was that same female he had caught near the Berry Equestrian center seven years earlier.

That indicted the range of the animal had been relatively small since the area where it was collared was less than two miles from where it had been shot, he added.
Mowry said another reason for his Atlanta Coyote Project is to develop data that is specific to the Southeast.
“What we know about coyotes across their historic range (west of the Mississippi) does not necessarily apply to our region,” Mowry said.
Mowry said he is interested in trying to analyze other differences between the southeastern animals and their western counterparts. The study will try to look at impacts related to climate patterns, food availability and reproduction.
Mowry is working with colleagues from Emory University, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and several Berry undergrads. “We expect this study to be ongoing, at least 5-plus years,” Mowry said.
A similar study is being headed by Mike Chamberlain, a professor of wildlife ecology and management at the University of Georgia. Its findings, including DNA samples from each animal, will be added to a growing coyote database at Princeton University.

Chamberlain’s survey focuses on animals taken by professional trappers in several counties near Augusta; on tracts across the Savannah River in South Carolina; and from the coastal plains south of Auburn, Alabama. At present, Chamberlain said, we don’t know much about Canis latrans.
“I get constant, constant, constant questions about coyotes from farmers and landowners,” said Chamberlain.
He readily admits he cannot answer all the queries, though part of his doctoral dissertation dealt with the creatures. One reason: Previous studies on coyote travel have focused on smaller tracts; this survey, which began in January, encompasses hundreds of square miles.
“If we’re going to understand this animal’s behavior, we’ll have to start studying it, on a larger scale,” he said.
The animals’ collars will beam their locations every four hours to a satellite, which will bounce that data back to an online server. Chamberlain can keep track of study subjects from a computer on the university campus. A Georgia coyote outfitted two weeks ago is now in South Carolina, Chamberlain noted.
The study has ecological ramifications. Biologists warn that coyotes in some areas are having a devastating effect on fawns — and that has implications for future generations of the whitetail deer. They also dig up and devour sea-turtle eggs, further imperiling species already endangered.

The survey, Chamberlain said, ought to show how coyotes use the landscape in their travels.
Coyotes came to the South from their native western ranges about 50 or 60 years ago, crossing the Mississippi in a relentless push for food. In Georgia and other states, they found a smorgasbord: open trash cans, pet food left outside, pets. Coyotes live in every state in North America; no one knows how many.
As they moved, some coyotes mated with wolves and dogs, said Bridgett vonHoldt, an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton. She recently took over managing the New Jersey University’s coyote database, which has DNA samples from more than 1,000 animals.
The study is overdue, said Bradley Bergstrom, a biology professor at Valdosta State University. Bergstrom is a member of the science advisory board for Project Coyote, a nonprofit organization stressing a peaceful coexistence between humans and coyotes.
“I think there’s a growing thirst for knowledge about these animals,” Chamberlain said. “The bottom line is, we’re trying to figure out how they’re getting here.

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