WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Have you seen a coyote or a red fox in Wichita?
The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) and Utah State University, with the support of the Sedgwick County Government and the City of Wichita, are conducting an all-new study to learn about how the two species are so successful at living among humans, and they want you to report any sightings.
According to the KDWP, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, including more than 70% of Americans, but the Department says humans aren’t the only species making the most of metropolitan areas.
“Coyotes and red foxes – members of the Canidae or ‘dog family’ – are two wildlife species that appear to be adapting to “city life” in places just like Wichita,” the KDWP says.
While the KDWP says the presence of coyotes and foxes in cities is not a new phenomenon, scientists still have much to learn about how these species are so successful at living among humans.
“That’s why those who work, live or recreate in the Wichita area can now contribute to Kansas’ first-ever citizen science study focused on urban coyotes and red foxes, providing wildlife researchers with much-needed information,” the KDWP says.
“Canids are elusive, very intelligent, and are finding ways to live among us in areas where wildlife are sometimes the last thing you’d expect to see,” said Jon Beckmann, KDWP wildlife supervisor. “Through this study, we hope to learn more about these species in an urban environment to gauge how well this human-wildlife relationship works, and to help build a repository of data that can then be used to inform current and future management efforts.”
Utilizing citizen-supplied data, such as in-person sightings and security camera footage from doorbell cameras and similar devices, researchers from the KDWP and Utah State University say they will be able to examine the reported species’ movements, feeding behavior, social interactions, and more.
“Reports of sightings will help us map where these animals live, what kind of urban habitat they prefer, and possible ‘hotspots’ for interactions, so we can better manage these species,” said Neville Taraporevala, a master’s student in Utah State University’s Department of Wildland Resources. “Whether someone spots a live or roadkill coyote or simply catches a glimpse of a fox on their Ring doorbell, we want to hear from them. No piece of data is too small or insignificant.”
To report a sighting, click here.
The submission form will have fields for reporting various information, including:
- Species of animal spotted
- Location of sighting
- Date/time of the sighting
- The animal’s general behavior
- How the sighting made the reporter feel
- Photo or video clips, if available
The KDWP says Wichita residents are welcome to report sightings throughout the year as researchers plan to conduct the study on an ongoing basis.
To learn more about coyotes and foxes, visit the KDWP’s website.
To contact a member of the research team, email email@example.com or fill out the contact form.