Tonight we talked with two wildlife ecologists, David Drake from the Department of Forestry and Wildlife Ecology and Marcus Mueller, his graduate assistant. They discussed with PNM’s Dennis Shaffer about the UW Urban Canid Project, which solicits input from the public through social media where red foxes and coyotes might be found in the city limits of Madison. They have trapped a few of each specie and put radio collars on them to get a picture of where they go. They won’t get a clear travel itinerary, but the radio tracking will give a general boundary or territory of their range. One of the goals of the project is to learn why red foxes and coyotes are migrating to urban settings. One possible reason is competition in the wild within their own species, that may cause them to seek new habitat where red foxes and coyotes don’t usually exist. But also David and Marcus are curious about competition BETWEEN red foxes and coyotes in Madison. In the wild, when territories often overlap, they compete for the same sources of food which is usually mice, rats, rabbits, etc. However, they have yet to find any conflicts between them, or between them and us.
If you want to learn more about urban canids or to report a sighting of a red fox or coyote, go on facebook and then search for “UW Urban Canid Project.” Also, you can click on this LINK. The UW Urban Canid Project has their own webpage. Just click HERE.