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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Study on Camera Traps and Coyotes Wariness of Them

Thank you to Ron Pyle for sharing this scientific study with us!
Wariness of coyotes to camera traps relative tosocial status and territory boundaries
Abstract: The primary objective of this study was to develop a better understanding of coyote (Canis latrans) wariness
particularly as it related to social status. We determined that territory status (controlling alpha, resident beta, or
nonterritorial transient) affected vulnerability to photo-capture by infrared-triggered camera systems. All coyotes were
wary of cameras, leading to relatively low numbers of photo-captures, most of which occurred at night. Alphas were
significantly underrepresented in photographs and were never photo-captured inside their awn territories. Betas were
photographed inside and outside their territories, whereas transients were most often photographed on edges of territories.
Both alphas and betas were photographed more often on territorial edges when outside their territories. We next
addressed the question of how alphas were better able to avoid photo-capture. Alphas tracked human activity within
their territories and presumably learned the locations of cameras as they were being set up. They did this either by approaching
our location directly or by moving to a vantage point from where they could observe us. Betas and transients
either withdrew or did not respond to human activity. Trials in which a dog was present were more likely to
elicit an approach response from alphas. Avoidance of camera stations and the tracking of human activity implied wariness
toward objects or locations resulting from their learned association with human presence rather than neophobia toward
the objects themselves.

Read the entire document here.

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