Long Beach Coyote Management Research
Now in its second year, this project aims to develop a long-term coyote management program for the Long Beach Animal Care Services Bureau. The research team first assessed existing coyote distribution data collected by local city wildlife officials. To augment these data, game cameras were deployed to collect additional field data on coyote abundance, movement and distribution. CURes researchers are collecting and analyzing scats to:
- Assess coyote dietary components.
- Identify individual coyotes through genetic analysis.
Future phases may include the capture, radio collaring and tracking of target study site coyotes.
This study aims to understand the nighttime metabolic state of nesting female hummingbirds. Specifically, whether those birds go into torpor at night, which is a hibernation-like state that hummingbirds enter when they must conserve energy. The study uses multiple sites in California, Massachusetts, and Costa Rica to get a more holistic understanding of the birds' behavior.
In partnership with the Annenberg PetSpace in Playa Vista, CURes is developing formal and informal educational materials on the importance of the human-animal bond. Dr. Eric Strauss (CURes Executive Director) is one of 15 Wallis Annenberg Leadership Institute Fellows, who are working in a cross-disciplinary capacity to research and better understand the relationship humans form with animals, particularly pets.
CURes, alongside other scientists, is embarking on a wolf hybrid project in Frazier Park, CA, to learn how wolf-dog hybrids can inform us of human psychiatric diseases. More details and results to come in 2018.
Mesopredator studies tracking the movement and dynamics of coyotes and feral cats in the Ballona Wetlands
At CURes, we are particularly interested in the role that medium sized predators (meso-predators), such as coyotes, outdoor cats and American Crows play in the ecology of mixed urban habitats. Because cites are inhospitable to the largest of the region's predators, such as mountain lions and bears, the smaller predators may take on an expanded importance in the flow of energy through the urban ecosystem.
In addition, urban predators sometimes end up in conflicts with human inhabitants or inflict excessive predator pressure on vulnerable animal populations that are already stressed by the habitat degradation that happens in cities. The research team at CURes conducted a study on feral cats in the Ballona Wetlands to help develop a humane and effective management strategy to alleviate the conflicts that arise among humans and animals. This was done through radio telemetry and movement pattern monitoring.
Predator aversion studies to reduce crow predation on eggs of the California least tern
The endangered California least tern, which nests in a colony on Venice Beach, has endured five consecutive years of reproductive failure due to heavy predation from American crows. Therefore, an experiment was deployed in 2014 in an attempt to condition the crows to refrain from consuming tern eggs and negatively impacting the viability of the tern population. This was done through electrified decoy tern nests that delivered small shocks to predating crows to reduce harmful behaviors.