Wildlife Tech Class of 2017
High School for Environmental Studies
Mentor: Chris Nagy (MRG)
Project: Variability in Detection of Coyotes in New York City Parks and Implications for Research
Project Status: Completed
Project Description: Since 2012, camera traps have been deployed in 10 parks in New York City to study the occupancy dynamics of Canis latrans (eastern coyotes) in an urban center. Previous work has examined coyote site occupancy at the scale of an entire park. The purpose of this study was to investigate detection rates on the scale of individual cameras within multiple occupied parks during the pup-rearing (April through September) and non-denning/pup-rearing (i.e., non-breeding; October through March) seasons. Daily detection rates per camera were 0.05 ± 0.10 (mean ± SD) in the non-breeding season and 0.04 ± 0.07 in the breeding season, indicating that a single camera had approximately a 4 – 5% chance each day to detect a coyote in an occupied park. The high variability in detection rates within parks indicates that certain cameras were more successful at detecting coyotes and thus coyotes use specific areas of the park more than others. Ongoing analysis will examine what factors may determine these use patterns. Information on the within-park variability in detection among cameras can also help researchers plan future deployments and maximize the change of detecting coyotes with the minimum number of cameras.