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Biologists Have Discovered Los Angeles's Urban Coyotes Are Neighborhood Stereotypes

For the first time ever, the National Park Service is studying the coyotes of urban Los Angeles—it's looked at the mountain coyotes before, but these are the first city-dwellers—and it's found they pretty much hang in their own neighborhoods, just like people. In May, the NPS outfitted two coyotes with GPS collars: C-144 is a two- or three-year-old female who "spends most of her time in the Westlake neighborhood" and is raising "at least five pups," according to a release from the NPS. Young family living in Westlake? They right in. C-145 is a four- to eight-year-old male who lives in Silver Lake and was later seen hanging out with a friend, which is kind of unusual coyote behavior. Aging dude prowling the streets of Silver Lake with a female friend? Sounds exactly right. These coyotes are true Angelenos, obviously.

NPS is hoping "to better understand how coyotes survive in one of the nation's most intensely urbanized areas" and has already been surprised at how much time the coyotes spend in the city (as opposed to parks or other open areas), but more than half of the locations their GPS devices have recorded were in developed areas so far. The rest were in vacant lots or parks; none were in the real wilderness. A biologist says "From just a few months of data, we now know that coyotes are persisting within home ranges that have high human densities and little natural habitat, which is quite remarkable."

C-144, the Westlake female, "is believed to have one of the most urban home ranges of any coyote ever studied and has already surprised biologists by crossing the 101 Freeway several times, near where it intersects with the 110 Freeway."

According to the NPS's new Gridlocked blog, both 144 and 145 "are persisting and behaving naturally, hunting prey, caring for their young and, at this point at least, avoiding conflicts with humans."
· New Study Offers Insights Into Los Angeles' Most Urban Coyotes [NPS]
· Location, Location, Location! [NPS]