Coyote Ecology in the Chicago Metropolitan Area

This project began in March 2000, and is currently the longest and largest coyote study to date. Prior to the 1990s, coyotes were only occasionally sighted in the Chicago area, and were not a regular member of the urban fauna. As coyotes have increased in number and expanded their range across North America, they began colonizing urban centers such as Chicago.

Our objectives are to determine how coyotes achieve success in urban landscapes and the implications of this success for people and their pets. In addition to uncovering aspects of coyote ecology, we also focus on disease dynamics and the potential pathogens the animals host, and we seek solutions to human-coyote conflicts.

We are using the most recent technological advances to uncover the mysteries of these animals, such as satellite-monitored GPS collars for movements, stable isotope analysis for diet, serologic techniques to detect disease, and SNP’s and genomic sequencing for genetic analysis.

As the urban coyote population continues to increase in distribution and abundance within the city, we continue to monitor them to determine if there are changes in the behavior, physical condition, genetic structure and the prevalence of disease.