TUCSON, Ariz. – State and university researchers plan a detailed study on urban neighborhoods that have become hot spots for coyotes.
Coyotes (search), which have been setting up dens in the bushes of two neighborhoods here, will be captured and radio-collared by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (search) and University of Arizona (search) researchers.
They hope to trap 10 coyotes early next month to determine where the animals go and how they behave.
A resident in one of the affected neighborhoods said coyotes have started following her. Recently, six coyotes ran after Holly Gardner and her dog.
"They followed me to the arroyo. They all stood and looked at me, I yelled at them, turned away, pulled the dog away and we started walking home," Gardner said. "They started walking after me and I kept looking over my shoulder. They started to jog after me and I ran into my driveway."
She bought an air horn to ward them off in future encounters.
After studying the first group of coyotes in the neighborhoods, researchers hope to trap another group and then move them away from urban areas to see how they act in a more natural environment. The study is expected to take two years.
Elissa Ostergaard, Game and Fish's urban wildlife biologist in Tucson, said researchers hope the information they get will help diminish future conflicts between coyotes and people.
The study also will help determine whether aggressive coyotes can successfully be moved to the wild.
A University of Arizona researcher doubts it.
"If we have a problem animal, my personal belief is that it is better to go ahead and euthanize them," said Paul Krausman (search), a UA natural resources and wildlife ecology professor who is helping run the study. "That's because if you take an animal and put it into another area, it will be stressed, more vulnerable, not accepted and probably won't live anyway. You will also be stressing other animals."