Portland researcher tracking growing number of coyote sightings - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland researcher tracking growing number of coyote sightings in the metro area

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Courtesy: Nancy Yen Shipley Courtesy: Nancy Yen Shipley
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A Portland researcher is in the midst of an ambitious project to map local coyote sightings, and make the information accessible to people who live in Portland.

From her home office in southwest Portland, Zuriel Rasmussen runs the Portland Coyote Project, an online effort to track encounters between people and coyotes inside the city.

"One of the most fascinating things I think that we've found is that coyotes seem to be pretty ubiquitous in Portland," said Rasmussen. "They're everywhere."

Rasmussen said close to 3,000 people reported seeing a coyote in Portland last year, and said she expects roughly the same number of sightings this year.

In most situations, Rasmussen said, coyotes are wary of humans and try to avoid them. But that isn't always the case.

"If they do see a coyote that looks very comfortable, that's actually not a great sign. And that's a coyote that you want to kind of start to scare away," said Rasmussen.

Coyotes are highly adaptive animals, who typically dine on rodents, like squirrels, but they've also been known to go after trash and pets.

Rasmussen encourages people to share photos and videos of their encounters with coyotes, which she posts on the coyote project's website: www.portlandcoyote.com

Rasmussen is also experimenting with automatic trail cameras, hoping through her efforts to learn more about where Portland's coyotes live, how they interact with people, and how conflicts can be avoided.

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