Nicolet College to host presentation on city-dwelling fox, coyote populations
For the Tomahawk Leader
RHINELANDER – Nicolet College will host a presentation on city-dwelling fox and coyote populations later this month.
“Ever see a fox or coyote where it seemingly shouldn’t be?” a release from Nicolet said. “Maybe crossing a busy city street or cruising through a neighborhood packed with houses? Increasingly, such interactions are becoming much more common in the Northwoods and across the state, even in such unlikely places as downtown Madison.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison Wildlife Professor David Drake has been researching this growing natural phenomenon since 2014.
Drake will present his latest findings at the Nicolet College Theatre, 5364 College Dr., Rhinelander, on Wednesday, May 25 at 9:30 a.m.
The event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by UW-Madison’s Badger Talks program, Nicolet College and the college’s Learning in Retirement program.
“Traditionally, much of our knowledge and research on foxes and coyotes has been from rural or wild settings,” Drake stated. “With urbanization continually increasing, our studies look at how these animals use the urban landscape and how their life histories and behaviors change as a result. A big part of this involves their relationship with humans.”
Nicolet said Drake’s curiosity was sparked after he routinely began spotting red fox and coyotes on the densely-packed UW-Madison campus and even living under a campus building. This led him to launch the UW Urban Canid Project.
“To study these urban canines, Drake and his team of researchers live-trap and radio-collar these animals,” Nicolet stated. “These collars allow researchers to remotely monitor the animals’ locations without having to see or disturb them. Collecting location data over a long period of time allows researchers to better understand where animals are spending their time and what factors may be drawing them there.”
Blood, nasal and fecal samples are also collected to analyze what diseases are prevalent in the fox and coyote populations in Madison.
“These animals interact with humans on a daily basis, most often without ever being noticed,” Drake said. “And understanding the health of these canines can have direct implications when it comes to the health of domestic animals.”
Over 200 Badger Talks are hosted around the state each year, featuring faculty and staff with expertise in a variety of disciplines, Nicolet said.
The presentation is part of Learning in Retirement’s Ced’s Nature Series, named after local longtime educator, writer and naturalist Ced A. Vig, who started the nature series in the late 1990s.
For more information about the Learning in Retirement program, visit www.nicoletcollege.edu/lir or call the college at 715-365-4491.