Coyote, fox, and bobcat response to anthropogenic and natural landscape features in a small urban area

Jason V. Lombardi, Christopher E. Comer, Daniel G. Scognamillo, Warren C. Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Increasing urbanization across the southeastern United States presents unique challenges for wildlife; however certain species have learned to adapt and thrive in these environments. Coyotes (Canis latrans), bobcats (Lynx rufus), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) are four common medium-sized carnivores that have become closely associated with urban areas. The goal for this study was to determine how urban landscape features influence density and occurrence of these species in a small urban area and to evaluate if any effects were similar to those observed in larger urban areas. We conducted two eight-week camera surveys in the city of Nacogdoches, Texas (pop. 32,699) and immediate surrounding areas in summer and fall 2013. We evaluated single-season spatially explicit capture-recapture and occupancy models to estimate density, and occurrence, respectively, based on anthropogenic and natural features around each camera site. Coyotes (fall: 1.38 coyotes/km2) and bobcats (fall: 0.64 coyotes/km2) were associated with areas of green space, but their response to large and small green spaces changed seasonally. Conversely, red foxes (fall: 2.53 red foxes/km2) were more likely to occur near developed areas and were less detectable in areas with greater probability of coyote presence in fall only. In summer, gray foxes (fall: 0.05 gray foxes/km2) were more likely to occur in areas with lower building density and closer to buildings. This study indicates coyotes, foxes and bobcats respond to small-scale urbanization in a similar manner as large-scale urbanization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1239-1248
Number of pages10
JournalUrban Ecosystems
Volume20
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

Keywords

  • Bobcat
  • Camera trap
  • Coyote
  • Gray fox
  • Red fox
  • Spatially explicit capture-recapture
  • Urbanization

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