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The Coyote in Your Backyard

The Coyote in Your Backyard

I have always had a soft spot for coyotes despite their unsavory reputation among ranchers and wildlife managers. I think they’re beautiful and scrappy. Like wolves, they seem to be magnets for our own projections—fearsome predator or vulnerable canid? Unlike wolves, no matter how many we kill (Thousands are still shot every year in this country) they won’t go away. They’re remarkably resilient. So resilient that they now inhabit the 35 largest cities in the U.S.

In Los Angeles, one biologist, from the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, is tracking coyotes and organizing volunteers to collect scat to determine what they’re eating and where they’re traveling. Already, surprising findings have emerged. Some L.A. coyotes, for instance, spending their entire life cycles in inner city neighborhoods and don’t, as suspected, frequent local wild areas. Check out my recent story, “Coyotes and the City,” in the fall issue of National Parks magazine to learn more.