The Animal Services Unit has been cooperating and participating in a research study about coyotes on Galveston Island.
In addition to documenting coyote behavior and sighting locations we have been providing genetic material for DNA testing from our curious canids.
What we have found:
Red wolf genetic ancestry has been detected in our coyote population. While this research is still ongoing, the discovery that red wolf DNA lives on in our resident coyote population is fascinating. This red wolf genetic material may have been lost in contemporary red wolves due to their small population size, thus our coyotes may harbor some of the last remnants of unique Texas canid genetics.
This finding does not mean that our coyotes are exempt from the laws governing coyotes. From a legal standpoint our curious canids are coyotes.
We are now preparing to launch an expansion of this research program. In cooperation with TPWD Urban Biologists, independent wildlife biologists/ecologists, and university partners we will soon be utilizing GPS Collars to collect data on our coyotes.
We expect this data to show:
The range of our coyote packs;
The separateterritories each pack calls home;
How frequently are coyotes traveling through undesirable locations;
How effective conflict mitigation practices can keep coyotes wild;
and so much more...
Through a more complete understanding of our native wildlife we hope to promote a healthy coexistence that keeps the public safe and the wildlife wild.