Over the last 30 years coyotes (Canis latrans) have expanded their range into peninsular Florida and recently the population has increased. Coyotes are opportunistic apex predators and play an important role in wildlife populations, both positive and negative. Unfortunately, coyotes interfere and damage livestock production, most commonly through calf loss.
During November 2014 we equipped 15 coyotes with GPS collars on several private ranches in hopes of answering the following questions:
How often do coyote interact with cattle and cause calf loss?
How does coyote behavior change during calving season?
How do coyotes use rangeland habitat?
We used VHF to monitor survival of the 15 coyotes on each ranch property. Each collar was equipped with a mechanism scheduled to release the GPS collar after 6 months. So far we have recovered 11 of 15 collars and will soon be examining the detailed spatial and temporal data for each coyote as part of Ke Zhang's graduate project. Future studies as part of Sam Baraoidan's gradaute project will examine coyote interactions with cattle, including calf loss, on Florida's rangelands.
We are also conducting a survey to measure losses of livestock as a direct consequence of coyote predation, and to aid in identifying number and extent of occurrence across Florida. This survey can be completed online at - https://surveymonkey.com/s/T3J9T77 or by picking up a survey in the main office. The survey will help answer these questions. Or you can take the quick questionnaire below.
What is the occurrence of calf loss across Florida?
This project was made possible by funding and collaboration with the USDA and the NWRC. Collaborators: Stewart Breck, Mike Avery, and Eric Tillman, USDA. Contributors: Cary Lightsey, Lightsey Cattle Company. Jim Strickland, Blackbeard's Ranch. The MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center. Ralph Pfister, Adams Ranch.