Friday, October 28, 2016

Tracking the urban coyotes of Silver Lake and Echo Park

Courtesy National Park Service

A coyote pup belonging to C-144, a female coyote who lives primarily in Westlake | National Park Service


He’s a Silver Lake guy who never ventures south of the 101 Freeway. She’s a mom raising a family on the other side of the 101 but does not mind crossing the freeway to visit Silver Lake and Echo Park. Meet C-145 and C-144, urban coyotes that are being tracked in the name of science as they roam the streets of Echo Park, Historic Filipinotown, Silver Lake and Westlake.

In an effort to better understand how coyotes survive in intensively urbanized areas, researchers from the National Park Services in May captured and GPS-collared these two coyotes to track their movements.

C-144, so named because she is the 144th coyote tracked since the NPS began researching Southern California coyotes, is proving to be a very interesting study. She’s a female, about 2-3 years old, that spends most of her time in an area with very little natural habitat south of the 101 Freeway in the southern edge of Echo Park, Historic Filipinotown and Westlake. She’s also raising at least five pups.

Researchers say that C-144 has one of the most urban home ranges of any coyotes they have ever studied – and she seems to be doing the impossible: she’s routinely crossing the 101 Freeway near Downtown. Since 1996, researchers have studied coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, with the conclusion was that the 101 Freeway was a near-impenetrable barrier to the west.

So how is C-144 managing her incredible freeway avoidance? Maybe she has found alternative routes like bridges or underpasses? Hitching a ride with Uber drivers? It’s too soon to tell.

collared coyote map

On the other hand, C-145, a male estimated to be between 4-8 years old with a home range in Silver Lake has not crossed any freeways in his hood. The Silver Lake-centric male  has made himself at home in both residential and natural habitats in the area.

Based on a limited GPS data analysis, researchers say that C-144 and C-145 spend most of their time in developed areas, such as along roads and in high-density residential areas. They have been recorded in vacant lots and parks, but not as much. C-144 and C-145’s kin in the Santa Monica Mountains often spend time in at least one square kilometer of natural vegetation – that’s not happening for these two urban canids.

Over time, researchers hope to discover how these animals are using the landscape, how much space they need and what kind of conflict, if any, they are having with humans.

Find out more about C-144 and C-145 at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area’s new urban wildlife blog, Gridlocked.

Coyotes are medium-sized canids that inhabit most of North America. Coyotes in Southern California are often the subject of negative media attention, but serious coyote conflicts with humans are rare. In order to reduce the likelihood of a negative interaction with a coyote, residents should be careful not to feed wildlife, either intentionally or unintentionally. Learn more about co-existing with coyotes at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild/Coyote.

coyote tracking

Brenda Rees is a writer and resident of Eagle Rock.

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  1. They eat cats, but they also eat rats and mice. Dogs rule, even wild ones.

  2. It must have been 144 I saw cross the 101 via Edgeware a few months ago after sunset. She was moving fast! I assumed she was heading to Vista Hermosa Park.

  3. This lil one gets around I’ve seen her in the hills of Echo Park at nite.

  4. i had a staring contest with a coyote yesterday morning (around 9 am) up in Mount Washington. i won, coyote doubled back through the neighborhood. (i like to intimidate coyotes for their sake, just to remind them that it’s better for everyone if they don’t get too comfortable around humans)

  5. I dont mind coyotes at all they don’t scare ME., however if one of them ever got a hold of my dog …….
    I take every precaution to make sure that doesn’t happen but you never know. I live in the Hills above Glassel Park and have seen the coyotes wandering the neighbor hood in tje middle of the day almost on a daily basis.


    Twice within a week I’ve seen one slowly but steadily “walking the line” down the middle of Scott, ignoring neighbors standing in their yards. Coincidentally, I saw an add for coyote urine as a deterrent to critters invading your yard. Hey, we can start a neighborhood business . . . if we can just teach one of “our” coyotes to pee in a bottle!

  7. Make them fear you , throw rocks. There are so many in the HP hood, Debs Park is a coyote refuge area. I respect them but I want them to fear me. GRRRRR!!!!

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