Coyote Study Begins
April 14, 2003
Tom Farrell, 605/745-1130
Superintendent Linda L. Stoll announced today the beginning of a two-a-half year study to learn more about the park’s coyote population. This study, conducted by Jamie Chronert, a master’s student from South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, involves capturing fifteen to twenty coyotes using padded foothold traps set throughout the park.
Captured animals will be fitted with radio collars to allow their movement to be monitored. They will also be measured, weighed, and blood samples taken. These samples will be analyzed at the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at South Dakota State University for tularemia, canine distemper, and sylvatic plague.
The objectives of this study are to evaluate coyote home range and habitat use, food habits, denning behavior, and population size. Biological Science Technician Barbara Muenchau said, “This study will provide us better information about one of the park’s main predators and allow us to use this knowledge with other on-going research.”
Did You Know?
Fire is an important factor in protecting the prairie. Historically, fires burned across the prairie every 4 to 7 years. Fires burn the small trees that would otherwise march across the prairie and turn the grasslands to forest.