PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) - A Portsmouth biologist is using GPS technology to study andtrack the growing coyote population on Aquidneck Island.
Dr. Numi Mitchell has placed GPS collars on at least 21 coyotesover the last five years, and has been keeping tabs on theirmovements. She says there are at least ten packs of coyoteson Aquidneck Island alone.
Her research is providing a better understanding of why therehas been an increase in coyote activity in suburban neighborhoodslike Burrows Heights in Portsmouth.
"We found out why there are so many coyotes in neighborhoods isbecause they eat in these neighborhoods, and that's because people areleaving out food."
Dr. Mitchell tells Eyewitness News that adult coyotes likelyenter residential areas in search of food for their young.
"This is when the parents are very intensely hunting forthem."
She recommends Portsmouth residents keep a close eye on theirpets, and not leave food out for them.
"You have to remember not to feed your pets outside. Asafe cat is an indoor cat. And little animals, less than 30pounds are really at risk."
The next step in Dr. Mitchell's research is to study the densityof the Aquidneck Island coyote packs, and determine an exactcount.
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