The Narragansett Bay Coyote Study (NBCS), launched in 2004, is working with the South Kingstown Land Trust, R.I. Department of Environmental Management, and Rhode Island residents on a five-year study aiming to help control the coyote population and work toward a more peaceful coexistence. Humans try to eliminate coyotes by hunting, trapping, and poisoning, but this does not work as a population control strategy. Believe it or not, coyotes have the ability to control their own numbers. Coyote reproduction is regulated by the amount of food competition with other coyotes. So if coyotes are removed lethally, coyotes react by increasing their reproduction due to the decrease in food competition which therefore causes their population to rebound. The opposite holds true if there is a food shortage. If competition for food increases, coyotes will instinctively drop their reproduction rate.
Numi Mitchell, lead scientist of the Narragansett Coyote study, is using GPS tracking collars to find out where coyotes are spending their time. If the NBCS can identify and control coyote food sources, coyotes will bring their numbers down naturally. It is a humane and passive way to manage coyote populations and work toward coexistence. Recently a coyote was trapped on a South Kingstown Land Trust Property and then tranquilized, collared, and released back into the wild. Numi is tracking this coyote in search of its food source. You can view WPRI’s coverage of this here.
To find out more about the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study by clicking here!