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U of C resumes urban coyote study in five parks

After halting the initial study last August following public outcry, a University of Calgary ‘trap, tag, and release’ urban coyote study is resuming in five city parks next week.

While nothing fundamental has changed about the study itself, researchers are trying to share more information with the public to ease any apprehension Calgarians may have.

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Professor, Alessandro Massolo, says cameras will monitor sites in five parks including Nose Hill and Fish Creek before any devices to catch coyotes are put in place.

Leg traps are not used nor does Massolo like to call them traps; they’re rubber padded devices that act more as a foot hole that won’t harm the coyotes or anything else that could stumble upon them.

The rubber padded devices used to catch the coyotes will be covered during the day in the bush out of the way of pathways in on-leash areas.  Dog owners won’t have to worry as long as they’re obeying city bylaws and park signs.

Up to a total of ten healthy coyotes will be tagged with solar powered collars after they’re safely caught for a maximum of 18 months.

“There is a GPS inside that is taking their locations. Every two days we will be receiving a text message from our coyotes, a phone message, and basically they’ll let us know where they have been in the last couple week,” says Massolo. “So, it’s quite funny but they won’t be on Facebook though.”

The texts are part of the study to better understand how Calgary coyotes live, travel, and survive, as well as insight into how they may interact with other animals.

Once the study is up after 18 months, if something happens to the coyote, the collars will be electronically released by computers and the coyote can roam free once more.

Massolo adds, the project is to better understand parasites that could affect dogs and coyotes and how to properly handle any diseases that could lead to illness.