Mar. 7, 2009 A coyote collared with a global positioning system tracking device in upstate New York last spring was trapped this winter 150 miles away in eastern Pennsylvania, giving researchers a record — in unprecedented detail — of its movements over an eight-month period.
The male coyote was about two years old when it was collared as part of an extensive study by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, N.Y.
Christina Boser, a graduate student working on the project, said this is the first time one coyote has been tracked in such detail over several months.
“It’s the first time we have this much information from a GPS unit,” she said. “It’s unique to have this.”
The information will be analyzed to learn more about the habitat the coyote sought and the amount of energy it spent moving from one place to another.
Boser said the animal occasionally traveled for miles along highways before crossing them, perhaps because they were unfamiliar and appeared to present a danger. For several months, the coyote traveled between Interstate 88 and State Route 20 before it ventured across I-88, which runs from Binghamton, in New York’s Southern Tier, some 130 miles northeast to Schenectady in the Capital Region.
“He bounced around like a pinball for six or eight months between these two roads, then eventually crossed I-88 and went south,” she said.
The coyote was found near East Stroudsburg, Pa., by a trapper who returned the collar through the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
The ESF research team will continue its fieldwork through July. The data the scientists collect will be analyzed and used to learn more about New York’s coyote population, the animals’ diets and their effect on the state’s deer herd.
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