Web-GIS, Citizen Science, and Human-Coyote Encounters in Calgary, Alberta (2010-2012)

Posted on May 31, 2019


by Meghan S.C. RYCHYK and Shelley M. ALEXANDER
CWBM 8 (1): 17–35

Correspondence: University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, ES 118, Earth Sciences Building, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1N4, Canada.

Email: m.rychyk@ucalgary.ca


Urban coyotes (Canis latrans) live in habitat remnants, often supplementing natural food sources with anthropogenic alternatives that bring them into close contact with humans. We analyzed 781 citizen reports submitted to the web-GIS mapping tool, Living with Coyotes, between 2010 and 2012, in Calgary, Alberta. Encounters were classified into 5 types and the frequency of reporting was evaluated, including by biological season, time of day, and spatial attributes. Type 1 encounters (sightings) overwhelmed the database (n=713). When omitting Type 1 and comparing Types 2 through 5 (n=68), we found a significant difference (P<0.05) in frequency. Type 3 encounters (following/stalking) were most common (41%) and Type 5 (attacks) were lowest (16%). When aggregated into ‘non-conflict’ (Types 2 and 3) and ‘conflict’ (Types 4 and 5), we found significantly more (P<0.05) ‘non-conflict’ encounters (63%). The frequency of encounters varied significantly by biological season (P<0.001), as did encounter type (Fisher’s test = 0.02). Although Type 1 to 4 encounters were reported most during Dispersal season and Type 5 during Pup-Rearing (45%), only Types 1 and 2 were significantly different across seasons (P<0.001 and P<0.025, respectively). ‘Conflict’ encounters did not vary significantly across seasons (P>0.05). Frequency of encounters varied significantly (P<0.001) by time, with most reported during the Daylight time category (47%). Encounter type did not vary by time of day (Fisher’s test = 0.08). Over 50% of encounters were reported in the NW quadrant of Calgary, which coincides with the most park area (37%). The NE quadrant had the least reports (2%) and the lowest park area (9%). Encounter type did not vary by quadrant (Fisher’s test = 0.99). Our results reinforce those previously found using phone-in reports, yielding evidence that web-based citizen science tools can provide reliable data that can benefit ecological and human-dimensions research, as well as coexistence strategies.

Key Words: Alberta, Canis latrans, Citizen Science, Coyote, GIS, Online-mapping



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