Larger carnivores may follow coyotes into cities
A wildlife ecologist says the movement of coyotes into North American cities may be setting the stage for larger carnivores to follow suit.
Stan Gehrt says wolves, bears and mountain lions may in future start migrating to cities, because of factors like exploding populations and urban sprawl.
Gehrt says cities probably evolved because it was safer for people to live in mass settlements.
But cities don't just keep people free from predators, they do the same for many animals.
Gehrt is a professor of wildlife ecology at Ohio State University and he has been studying coyotes in Chicago for the past 12 years.
Gehrt says that city has a coyote population of at least 2-thousand, but suggests that number is likely conservative.
Canadian cities have also seen an increase in coyote populations, with Calgary is estimated to have between 600 and 700 of the animals.
Dr. Emily Jenkins, a professor of veterinary microbiology at the University of Saskatchewan, says ravines and green belts and river valleys in cities act as virtual highways for animals trying to traverse territories fragmented by urban sprawl.