Aug. 24, 2012
The University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is conducting a study in partnership with the City of Calgary that involves capturing coyotes humanely, fitting them with GPS collars to track their movements, and then releasing them. The study is taking place in Nosehill Park, Fish Creek Park, and Bowmont Park. It is intended to help researchers understand how coyotes use and move around the urban environment and interact with humans, domestic animals and other urban wildlife.
As of 4:30 pm on August 24, 2012 – at the City of Calgary’s request – all catch-and-release equipment has been removed from Calgary parks so that current public concerns can be addressed prior to the study being resumed. Researchers will take all feedback into serious consideration and make appropriate modifications.
The catch-and-release equipment used is toothless and was placed off of the main trails, in heavily wooded areas. It was only activated between dusk (approximately 8 p.m. onwards) and dawn. Electronic monitoring at each site indicated when an animal had been captured and triggered a dispatch notification to personnel involved in the study, who proceeded to the location immediately.
The equipment was placed in designated on-leash areas to minimize the potential for accidental capture of domestic animals, as all animals in this area by law should be on a leash and accompanied by a handler. Warning signs were placed at least 50 metres away from these areas. There was a cover placed on the apparatus during daylight hours to prevent it from being activated.
The catch-and-release equipment is humane and is designed not to injure animals or people. In the event of a dog becoming caught, there were nearby signs immediately adjacent to the equipment indicating phone numbers to call for immediate assistance. Any dog caught was to be conveyed to an emergency 24-hour veterinary clinic as a precautionary measure.
This study was subject to rigorous academic ethics approvals prior to being undertaken and is entirely humane. The findings may ultimately help improve the management of our city’s natural areas and ensure a better environment for people, their pets and wildlife, enabling them all to coexist in the urban landscape. The study will also contribute data to other ongoing studies conducted in partnership with the City of Calgary, including a recently announced examination of gastrointestinal parasites in Calgary dogs.