PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Division of Fish and Wildlife is partnering with the Woonsocket Harris Public Library to host a virtual, family-friendly program about coyotes on Friday, August 21 at 1:30 p.m. Attendees will learn about the Eastern coyote’s natural history, as well as tips on how to coexist coyotes. Participants will get a behind-the-scenes look at the current research being conducted by the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study in partnership with DEM Fish and Wildlife and discover how humans affect trends in coyote populations.
The program will be led by DEM Wildlife Outreach team members Mary Gannon and Gabrielle De Meillon, who will be joined by Dr. Numi Mitchell and Kyle Hess of the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study. Mitchell will share some recent results from coyote tracking research in Rhode Island. Hess will join the program from the field, where he will show a typical field site and explain the methods of trapping and releasing coyotes for research.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Rhode Islanders to learn about coyotes and the interesting research that is happening right in our own backyards,” said Gannon. “It’s been very different this year, not being able to run programs in person due to COVID-19 restrictions. I hope that by offering virtual programs, we can reach a lot of Rhode Islanders, and still share information about local wildlife conservation in a fun way!”
The Narragansett Bay Coyote Study began in 2004, focusing on territory use of suburban coyotes on Conanicut and Aquidneck Islands. The study has since grown through a partnership with the DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife; Mitchell and Hess are now tracking coyotes in rural and suburban areas across Rhode Island. By focusing on coyote territory size and food resource use, this study has identified that many coyote packs utilize food in heavily developed areas, and that those food resources can be linked back to human activities. One main goal of this study is to educate the public about how changing our own behaviors can help control coyote populations and reduce human-coyote interactions. To learn more about this project, visit www.coyotesmarts.org.
This research partnership has been made possible by funding through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, a Federal Aid program administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Funding from hunting licenses, permits, and excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment is allocated each year to DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife to fund wildlife research, monitoring, habitat acquisition and restoration, wildlife outreach programs, and aquatic resource and hunter education courses.