The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, December 23, 2016, WEEKEND EDITION, Page 3A, Image 3

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THE DAILY ASTORIAN • FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2016
Portland’s urban coyotes become a university research project
Urban-rural
divide plays out
when coyotes
come to town
By ERIC MORTENSON
EO Media Group
PORTLAND — Coyotes
are a fairly common sight
in rural areas of the Pacific
Northwest and Northern Cali-
fornia, and landowners might
instinctively reach for the rifle
if they see one in the pasture or
sniffing around the barn.
Put a coyote in a city, how-
ever, and residents are more
likely to react in a way that
ranges from trying to feed
them to panicking over their
pets and children. Coyotes
sometimes lose their heads
as well, becoming so habitu-
ated to people and urban envi-
ronments that they trot down
streets in broad daylight and
snack on garbage or the occa-
sional cat.
Many cities, Portland
among them, now are home
to thriving coyote populations.
Researchers in Chicago a few
years ago estimated Cook
County had 1,500 to 2,000
coyotes.
Zuriel Rasmussen, a stu-
dent at Portland State Univer-
sity, is trying to learn more
about how coyotes and humans
coexist in cities. Rasmussen is
a researcher and director of the
Portland Urban Coyote Proj-
ect, which maps coyote sight-
ings and provides informa-
tion in collaboration with the
Audubon Society of Portland.
Rasmussen is pursuing a
Ph.D in Earth, Environment
and Society, a program offered
through Portland State’s Geog-
raphy Department. She’s inter-
ested in science communica-
tion and public engagement,
and the coyote project offers
opportunities for both.
She comes at it from a
rural perspective. She lived
in Weston, near Pendleton in
Eastern Oregon, until she was
12. Coyotes were part of the
landscape there, and she was
startled the first time she saw
one in Portland.
“I was one of those East
Oregonians surprised to see a
coyote,” she said. “I thought
Grant will finance wave
energy project off Newport
Associated Press
Oregon State University
has landed a federal grant for
the design, permitting and con-
struction of an advanced wave
energy test facility off Newport.
The Corvallis Gazette-
Times reported that the
U.S. Department of Energy
announced the decision
Wednesday. Department offi-
cials say the grant is for up to
$40 million but the final amount
is subject to appropriation.
The Pacific Marine
Energy Center South Energy
Test Site will be an open-wa-
ter, grid-connected facility
for trying out devices being
developed by private compa-
nies to capture the energy of
ocean waves and turn it into
electricity.
Judge stops logging on former
portion of Elliott State Forest
Associated Press
EUGENE — A federal
judge has banned logging on
a former piece of Elliott State
Forest near Coos Bay.
The
Register-Guard
reported that Judge Ann Aiken
in U.S. District Court in Eugene
on Monday issued a prelimi-
nary injunction barring Scott
Timber Co. and Roseburg For-
est Products from logging the
area while she considers a law-
suit by a Eugene-based conser-
vation group.
Zuriel Rasmussen
Zuriel Rasmussen, a Ph.D
student at Portland State
University, studies urban
coyotes.
it was pretty cool. I was fasci-
nated with how they were liv-
ing in the city and how that’s
even possible.”
Commonplace
The possible now is com-
monplace. Residents of the
Portland metro area have
reported 1,916 coyote sight-
ings to Rasmussen’s project
website just this year. Coyote
calls keep The U.S. Depart-
ment of Agriculture’s APHIS
Wildlife Services hopping
as well: From 2012 through
2015, officers responded to an
average of 373 coyote “con-
flict” complaints in Clackamas
County, which borders Port-
land, and killed an average of
30 a year, according to statis-
tics provided by Kevin Chris-
tensen, of the Wildlife Ser-
vices office in Portland.
Wildlife
Services
responded to an average of
222 coyote conflicts a year in
Washington County, on Port-
land’s west side, and killed an
average of 15 a year during the
same time frame. Wildlife Ser-
vices does not have a cooper-
ative service agreement with
Multnomah County, which
covers most of Portland, but
killed three coyotes that were
acting aggressively toward
people and pets.
Of the Clackamas County
coyote complaints, 56 per-
cent involved damage or threat
of damage to agriculture. In
Washington County, 54 per-
cent of the coyote conflicts
involved agriculture, accord-
ing to statistics provided by
Christensen.
At Portland State, Ras-
mussen’s studies over the past
couple years have shown the
urban and rural divide plays
out with coyotes as it does
with many other issues. Some
Eastern Oregon residents have
posted graphic YouTube vid-
eos about hunting coyotes,
complete with slow-motion
replays of bullets hitting coy-
otes at long range.
Portlanders’
reaction
to the presence of coyotes
appears to range from neu-
tral to positive, Rasmussen
said. Although concerned
about coyotes attacking pets,
they’re generally supportive
of coyotes and opposed to
lethal control.
“One of the big things I’ve
found is that the impact coyotes
have on your life bears a lot on
your attitude,” she said. In rural
areas, they’ve been vilified —
along with wolves — as some-
thing that threatens people’s
livelihoods, particularly with
livestock, she said.
‘Glimpse of the wild’
In cities, they’re not seen
as a threat to the way people
make a living. Instead, they
are “a glimpse of the wild
in an urban environment,
which is a different expe-
rience than seeing a coyote
near your sheep pasture.”
Analysis of urban coyote
scat shows their diet is pri-
marily rats, mice, squirrels
and rabbits, “pretty similar to
a rural coyote,” Rasmussen
said. They eat more garbage
than their rural cousins, and
about 1 to 2 percent of their
diet is cats.
“They’re super opportu-
nistic,” she said.
Part of her work involves
advising city residents what
to do when they see a coy-
ote. She said urban coyotes
can become habituated to
humans, and people should
“retrain” them to be wary.
She recommends “hazing”
them by yelling, using an
air horn, shaking a coffee
can full of rocks or other
methods. People obviously
shouldn’t feed coyotes,
either directly or by leaving
pet food or garbage accessi-
ble, and should keep a close
eye on pets, she said.
“When they get used to
being around people, those
are the coyotes that cause
problems,” she said.
Rare butterflies return to Saddle Mountain
The Daily Astorian
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service plans to reintroduce a
dwindling butterfly species at
Saddle Mountain State Natu-
ral Area.
The Oregon Silverspot
Butterfly, a threatened species
with yellow-orange wings,
was once widespread among
20 different locations, from
Northern California to south-
ern Washington. Now, only
five populations remain: four
in Oregon, one in California.
Silverspots gained Endan-
gered Species Act protection
status in 1980 but, in recent
years, suffered dramatic pop-
ulation declines in Oregon.
The Fish and Wildlife Service
is working with the Oregon
and Woodland Park Zoos, the
Oregon Parks and Recreation
Department, and the U.S. For-
est Service to reverse this trend.
The government also plans
to re-establish the silverspots
a message from
Cathy Peterson/For The Daily Astorian
Youth from the Student Conservation Association and the Lew-
is and Clark National Historical Park Pathways program check
out an Oregon silverspot butterfly on Mount Hebo in 2013.
at the Nestucca Bay National
Wildlife Refuge in southern
Tillamook County.
Saddle Mountain State Nat-
ural Area, owned and managed
by the state Parks and Recre-
ation Department, has high
numbers of nectar and vio-
let plants, which the butter-
flies enjoy. Meanwhile, the
Nestucca Bay refuge has been
actively restoring habitat for
silverspots in preparation for
their return.
The service is proposing to
designate these populations as
experimental to provide sur-
rounding landowners with
assurances the reintroductions
will not impose economic or
regulatory restrictions on their
properties.
SPARKY
and your friends
at the Astoria
Fire Dept.
Please test your smoke alarms
Practice cooking and kitchen safety
Always sleep with your bedroom
door closed
Practice your home fire-escape plan
Don’t leave burning candles
unattended
HAPPY HOLIDAYS
555 30th St. • Astoria
(503) 325-2345
CAA wants to thank all of
our supporters and volunteers
for helping to make this year’s
annual fundraiser the most
successful ever. Because of
you we can continue to cover
medical care and adoption
promotions for the shelter dogs
and cats. Special thanks goes
J ENNY
to all of you who donated the
fabulous items for our raffl es
and silent auction, to Fort George for donating
the space, and to Clatsop Regional Food Bank for
allowing us to use
freezer space. Linda
Perkins spearheaded
our bake sale and
coordinated dozens
of bakers.
We are grateful for all
of your support.
Marcy Dunning
for CAA
20
O REO & C OOKIE
16