Novel Object Behavioral Test
This isn’t the first time coyotes in metro Atlanta have been studied. In early 2020, UGA faculty and students set up 60 wildlife cameras across 18 counties in North Georgia. In front of half of the cameras was a “novel object,” a set of small posts connected by string and baited with a scent to attract coyotes.
Over four weeks, the study collected more than 2,800 videos, and now the researchers are working to understand how coyotes reacted to the objects. The test is designed to examine the boldness behavior of coyotes and see if there is a difference between rural and urban coyotes.
We deployed 60 camera traps across 18 counties along an urban to rural gradient in northern Georgia. (Rural: n=30, Urban: n=30). A novel object was constructed at half of all sites and was designed to test coyote behavioral responses to a foreign anthropogenic object. Boldness behavior was the primary focus of the study. Each site was left with an attractant for a three-to-four-week period and rebaited halfway through. Over 2,800 individual videos of wildlife were recorded. Coyote interactions will be quantified by both distance and behavioral criteria.
Research was conducted as part of the University of Georgia student Ben Carr’s undergraduate senior thesis. Photos provided by Ben.