Wildlife Technician Class of 2020
Irvington High School
Project name: Activity patterns of mammal communities in NYC parks
Project Status: Completed
Project Description: Chris worked on the Gotham Coyote Project, examining potential effects that newly arrived coyotes had on the activity patterns of other species. Using nearly 500 thousand pictures from our camera traps located throughout NYC Parks from 2016 – 2019, Chris compared the timing of photographic observations of potential prey species — such as deer, raccoons, and cottontail rabbits – in parks that also had coyotes versus observations of those species in parks that do not (yet?) have coyotes. Presumably if coyotes were causing a shift in these other species (perhaps because of predation or competition), then, for example, raccoons in parks without coyotes would be active at different times of day than raccoons in parks that also have coyotes. Chris also examined the activity of the coyotes themselves; if he did detect a difference in a particular species, he could then compare the species to the coyotes and determine if the species appeared to be avoiding coyotes.
Overall coyotes seemed to have little impact on a set of 9 other species, indicating that this new arrival in the urban food web are not disrupting the system substantially.