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... New York City (NYC), one of the largest and most densely populated urban centers in the world, has been colonized only recently by coyotes (Toomey et al. 2012). The geography of NYC influences how coyotes are expanding their distribution throughout this metropolis. ...
... This left NYC and Long Island the only regions of the Northeast without breeding populations of coyotes by the end of the 20th century. Rare sightings in the Bronx began in the late 1990s, and territory-holding, permanent residents have been documented only recently within NYC or Long Island (Toomey et al. 2012). By 2012 or possibly sooner, coyotes were breeding in 3 parks in the Bronx, with stable occupancy and breeding activity each year, and this number of breeding sites increased to 5 sites in 2014. ...
... In particular, the north shore of both Nassau and Suffolk counties have large tracts of protected open space and, farther east, the land use of Suffolk County generally spans a spectrum from suburban to rural. The densely urban matrix of NYC and the surrounding waters have prevented coyote establishment on Long Island, but our research since 2010 (see Weckel et al. 2010, Nagy et al. 2012, Nagy et al. 2016 strongly indicates that this is a temporary delay. ...
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Coyotes (Canislatrans Say, 1823) have increased their range dramatically over the past century. Formerly restricted to western North America, they now roam across the continent, in many habitats including large cities. One of the last areas in North America without coyotes has been Long Island, NY, a 3629 km2 island in the New York metropolitan area. Here we summarize all verified accounts of coyotes on Long Island, including the first record of breeding. There are few coyotes on Long Island currently; however, given the history of coyote success, we expect coyotes to establish a growing population there in the near future.
... While eastern Coyotes are well-established just north of NYC in the suburban and exurban Westchester County (Nagy et al. 2012, Weckel et al. 2010 ) and west across the Hudson River in inland New Jersey (New Jersey Upland Wildlife and Furbearer Research Project 2012), NYC's extreme level and area of urbanization combined with its complex and islanded geography have delayed the establishment of Coyotes there compared to other eastern US locales, even those farther east (Boston: Way 2007; Narragansett Bay, RI: Narragansett Bay Coyote Study 2014). Beginning in the 2000s, Coyote sightings have become more common in 2 of the larger parks in the Bronx as well as in the relatively less-urbanized neighborhood of Riverdale, and there were also sporadic unconfirmed reports throughout the rest of NYC (Toomey et al. 2012, Weckel et al. 2015). Ecologists now have a rare opportunity to directly observe the range expansion of a relatively large carnivore into one of the most-urbanized areas in the world. ...
... Manhattan is the most densely populated county in the USA (26,821 people per km 2 ; US Census Bureau 2010), and there may not be any habitat patches on the island not heavily trafficked by people. While Coyotes are able to acclimate to proximity to people by adjusting their activity temporally and staying hidden (Gehrt et al. 2009Gehrt et al. , 2011 Grinder and Krausman 2001; Way et al. 2004), Coyote sightings in Manhattan typically have led to a large police chase and capture (see Toomey et al. 2012). It seems unlikely that a pair or family group of Coyotes could remain hidden in Manhattan , and thus Coyotes' future there likely depends on stakeholders' acceptance capacity (Decker and Purdy 1988) as much as habitat or other ecological factors. ...
... Long Island, including parts of New York City (NYC), is one of the last large land masses in the continental United States without a breeding population of the northeastern coyote (var.; Fener et al. 2005). Coyotes are well established in northern and western suburbs of New York State (NYS), Connecticut (CT), and New Jersey (NJ) and there have been at least four independent, confirmed eastern Long Island coyote sightings since 2004 (Toomey et al. 2012; J. Stiller, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), pers. comm.). ...
... The first documented evidence of a coyote in NYC was in February of 1995 when a road-kill coyote was found on interstate 87 near the vicinity of Van Cortland Park in the Bronx, NY (Toomey et al. 2012). Unconfirmed reports suggest that dispersing coyotes may have arrived in the northern Bronx earlier in the decade. ...
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Currently, Long Island, NY is without a breeding population of northeastern coyote (Canis latras var.), yet recent evidence of dispersing individuals on the island, coupled with the “dogged” momentum of coyote range expansion across North America, suggests a Long Island coyote population is close at hand. We highlighted the fleeting opportunity to takes advantage of this natural experiment by developing a multidisciplinary research framework to investigate the ecological and social impacts of the coyote, pre- and post- range expansion. We reviewed coyote spatial ecology, community ecology, and human dimensions research and identified three components of future investigation: predicting future occupancy, monitoring colonization, testing hypotheses of trophic cascades by leveraging and expanding existing ecological data, and exploring attitudes towards coyotes to better understand and mitigate human-wildlife conflicts. Each proposed component will integrate for a comprehensive investigation to advance theory and applied management of northeastern coyotes.
... NYC is the most densely populated city in the United States with over 8.8 million people and approximately 27,000 people per square mile (United States Census Bureau 2020). The first documented evidence of a coyote in the NYC metropolitan area occurred in 1994 in the Bronx [19]. Another coyote was captured in Central Park in 1999. ...
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Coyotes are ubiquitous on the North American landscape as a result of their recent expansion across the continent. They have been documented in the heart of some of the most urbanized cities, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Here, we explored the genomic composition of 16 coyotes in the New York metropolitan area to investigate genomic demography and admixture for urban-dwelling canids in Queens County, New York. We identified moderate-to-high estimates of relatedness among coyotes living in Queens (r = 0.0–0.5) and adjacent neighborhoods, suggestive of a relatively small population. Although we found low background levels of domestic-dog ancestry across most coyotes in our sample (5%), we identified a male suspected to be a first-generation coyote–dog hybrid with 46% dog ancestry, as well as his two putative backcrossed offspring that carried approximately 25% dog ancestry. The male coyote–dog hybrid and one backcrossed offspring each carried two transposable element insertions that are associated with human-directed hypersociability in dogs and gray wolves. An additional, unrelated coyote with little dog ancestry also carried two of these insertions. These genetic patterns suggest that gene flow from domestic dogs may become an increasingly important consideration as coyotes continue to inhabit metropolitan regions.
... By studying their free-ranging populations in areas with different degrees of urbanization, we can assess changes in their behavior or genetics that may be associated with urbanization. The first documented evidence of a coyote in NYC occurred in 1994 in the Bronx (Toomey et al. 2012) and in 1999 a coyote was caught in Central Park (Martin 1999). By 2009, a coyote was observed in Queens (Weckel et al. 2015), and evidence of breeding groups was collected by 2016 (Nagy et al. 2016(Nagy et al. , 2017. ...
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Little is known about the relatedness structure of carnivores living in urban areas, where green spaces may vary in size and resource availability. We examined the minimum population size, relatedness structure, and genetic diversity of a recently established population of eastern coyotes (Canis latrans) inhabiting New York City (NYC). The population has been established for approximately 25 years, and sample collection for genetic analysis has been ongoing since 2010. We genotyped 234 scat, eight tissue, and three blood samples at nine microsatellite loci. We identified 45 individual coyotes with a male-biased sex ratio of 2.2:1. We also found moderate to high levels of genetic diversity, with average observed heterozygosity of 0.779 and mean number of alleles per locus of 7.8. Most of the green spaces surveyed supported a single group of closely related coyotes in each. Relatedness comparisons between parks also indicated that coyotes compared across different parks were also closely related. We identified two unrelated mated pairs and found no support for polygamy. The high incidence of relatedness suggests that the coyote population is descended from a small number of founding individuals. Additionally, we genetically recaptured several coyotes, including one individual sampled in the Bronx and in Queens, with a median of 103 days between resampling. This result indicates that the coyotes are persisting in some of the isolated greenspaces of New York City and able to move successfully between them.
... Today, coyotes are found as far north as Alaska and as far south as Panama (Bekoff & Gese, 2003) with an expanded niche that includes dense forest and urban areas, alike (Gompper, 2002). Northeastern coyotes can now be found in many disturbed and fragmented areas like suburbs and cities throughout the northeast- ern United States and Canada, including Boston, Montreal, Toronto, and New York City (Gompper, 2002;Mastro, Gese, Young, & Shivik, 2012;Toomey, Weckel, Nagy, & Silver, 2012). ...
... Manhattan is the most densely populated county in the USA (26,821 people per km 2 ; US Census Bureau 2010), and there may not be any habitat patches on the island not heavily trafficked by people. While Coyotes are able to acclimate to proximity to people by adjusting their activity temporally and staying hidden (Gehrt et al. 2009(Gehrt et al. , 2011Grinder and Krausman 2001;Way et al. 2004), Coyote sightings in Manhattan typically have led to a large police chase and capture (see Toomey et al. 2012). It seems unlikely that a pair or family group of Coyotes could remain hidden in Manhattan, and thus Coyotes' future there likely depends on stakeholders' acceptance capacity (Decker and Purdy 1988) as much as habitat or other ecological factors. ...
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Little is known about the distribution and spatial ecology of Canis latrans (Coyote) within New York City (NYC), one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world. To determine the overall distribution, site-specific breeding status, and seasonal occupancy patterns of this species in New York City, we used camera traps to monitor several urban sites across the boroughs of the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn from 2011 to 2014. Data from 2012 to 2014 were divided into 3 pup-rearing (PR; 1 April–30 September) and 3 non-pup-rearing (NPR; 1 October–31 March) seasons. We performed three single-season, multi-state analyses and 3 single-season, single-state analyses on data from the PR and NPR seasons, respectively, to estimate occupancy (ψ), breeding proportion (R), and detection rates (p1, p2, and δ). We examined 3 measures of available habitat area and the total area of fresh water in each park as predictors of site occupancy and/or breeding status, but found no evidence for associations between the amount of habitat or water and site occupancy or site breeding status. Generally, site occupancy (i.e., the proportion of all parks being used by Coyotes) was higher during the 3 NPR seasons (ψNPR = 0.778, 0.800, and 0.716) than the 3 PR seasons (ψPR = 0.509, 0.439, 0.670). By 2014, Coyotes were established in 6 sites and breeding in 4 sites, up from 2 in 2011, in the mainland borough of the Bronx, but only 1 resident Coyote was found in the island boroughs (Manhattan, Queens, or Brooklyn) from 2011 to 2014. Overall, Coyotes seem to be successfully colonizing suitable greenspaces in the Bronx, as evidenced by the increase in year-round occupancy and the increase in breeding sites over the 4 years of the study. While crossing from mainland Bronx to Queens on Long Island appeared to be a significant barrier during our 4 years of surveys, we expect that Coyotes will eventually establish themselves in the island boroughs of NYC as Coyotes more densely populate the Bronx and outward dispersal pressure increases.
... In the past few decades, coyotes (Canis latrans) have greatly expanded their range east from the deserts and plains of the Western United States into nearly the entire midwest and east coast, and have colonized many urban centers outside of their historical range such as Chicago and Boston. In New York State, the species has colonized the suburban and urban areas of Westchester County, and most recently individuals have been observed in New York City, although there has yet to be any breeding populations found in the island-bound sections of New York City or Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island [1]. Public and expert opinion regarding urban coyotes ranges from curiosity and interest to concern for the safety of people, pets, and property [2][3][4][5][6][7]. ...
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We evaluated the accuracy of a previously published model of coyote (Canis latrans) sightings in suburban Westchester County, New York. This model was originally developed using citizen reports of coyote sightings to predict the probability of a human-coyote interaction based on proximity to habitat features. Because the data were obtained from surveys, researchers could not separate patterns of site occupancy by coyotes from possible patterns of detection by respondents. Nevertheless, the model could be an indicator of site occupancy within the suburban matrix. We sought to evaluate the predictive power of the human-coyote interaction model with data gathered via a more rigorous method. To build a set of validation sites, we surveyed 11 parks in Westchester County and one park in Bronx County, NY with camera traps between April and October of 2010. The probability of photographing a coyote in a single trap-night was 0.06 ± 0.12 and all sites had >0.9 probability of detecting a coyote at least once given the total trap-nights at each site. During validation, we also added four additional sites that had been surveyed by other researchers with camera traps as additional “present” sites. Predictions of coyote presence or absence based on the human-coyote interaction model for these 16 validation sites were compared to the observed survey results. The model, which contained distances to forest, grassland, and pooled medium and high development performed well in predicting the observed data (kappa = 0.75 ± 0.17, Area-Under-Curve of Receiver-Operator-Characteristic plots = 0.90). The model appears to sufficiently predict coyote occupancy in a suburban-urban landscape and will form the basis of for development of a more comprehensive model of coyote distribution in the New York City metropolitan area. Furthermore, its accuracy illustrates how citizen science can provide reliable estimates of wildlife-habitat patterns in urban areas.
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Carnivores are currently colonizing cities where they were previously absent. These urban environments are novel ecosystems characterized by habitat degradation and fragmentation, availability of human food, and different prey assemblages than surrounding areas. Coyotes ( Canis latrans ) established a breeding population in New York City (NYC) over the last few decades, but their ecology within NYC is poorly understood. In this study, we used non-invasive scat sampling and DNA metabarcoding to profile vertebrate, invertebrate, and plant dietary items with the goal to compare the diets of urban coyotes to those inhabiting non-urban areas. We found that both urban and non-urban coyotes consumed a variety of plants and animals as well as human food. Raccoons ( Procyon lotor ) were an important food item for coyotes within and outside NYC. In contrast, white-tailed deer ( Odocoileus virginianus ) were mainly eaten by coyotes inhabiting non-urban areas. Domestic chicken ( Gallus gallus ) was the human food item found in most scats from both urban and non-urban coyotes. Domestic cats ( Felis catus ) were consumed by urban coyotes but were detected in only a small proportion of the scats (<5%), which differs markedly from high rates of cat depredation in some other cities. In addition, we compared our genetic metabarcoding analysis to a morphological analysis of the same scat samples. We found that the detection similarity between the two methods was low and it varied depending on the type of diet item.
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