The UW Urban Canid Project was started in January 2014 by Dr. David Drake after sightings of coyotes and red foxes on the UW – Madison campus were reported. After a successful pilot season, Dr. Drake added Marcus Mueller, a graduate student, to the Urban Canid Project. Marcus’s research focused on where coyotes and red foxes are in Madison, WI and when they are active. He found that both canids were active at the same time of day, but in different habitat types. Our current research aims to build off of Marcus’s research by looking at finer scale spatial and temporal interactions of coyotes and red foxes as well as diet and food availability in both urban and rural settings. Food availability in urban areas is directly linked to human-wildlife conflict, so identifying whether urban canids are relying on human food sources, and specifically which human food sources, is important to mitigating conflict with wildlife. Coyotes and red foxes are both habitat generalists and are found in urban and rural areas, but coyotes tend to limit red foxes in rural areas. As such, we are interested in comparing fine scale interactions between urban coyotes and red foxes in Madison, WI with rural coyotes and red foxes in Iowa county, WI, which is primarily agricultural. By better understanding both movements and diets of coyotes and red foxes, citizens and wildlife managers can respond proactively to urban canids rather than reactively.
Opportunities To Get Involved
- Have you seen a coyote or red fox in Madison? Report your sighting using iNaturalist! iNaturalist is a free citizen science program where you can share your observations using a cell phone or computer. We use the information provided by you to identify “hotspots” of red fox and coyote encounters.
- We are currently planning for a field season in October during which we will conduct small mammal trapping and scat collection. We will likely be looking for volunteers to walk predetermined paths to check small mammal traps or to collect scat. If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
November capture season
- We will start capturing and radio-collaring red foxes and coyotes in November, and we are always happy to have members of the public join us on our morning trap checks.
- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
- UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve
- UW Arboretum
- Madison Parks
- Private landowners throughout Madison, Wi and Iowa county
- USDA Hatch grant
- Milwaukee County Parks
- UW – Madison Graduate School
- UW – Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology
- Donors to the UW Urban Canid Project via the UW Foundation