The Akron Zoo and Summit Metro Parks are partnering together on a research project to better understand the behaviors of coyotes living in urban environments after zoo staff learned that a pack of coyotes often dwelled right outside the zoo fence perimeter.
The purpose of the study is to examine coyotes, and how they live and adapt to a rural setting that is populated with humans so that humans can also learn to co-exist with them peacefully. News 5 spoke to Shane Goode, Director of Animal Care at Akron Zoo, and Mike Johnson, Chief of Conservation for Summit Metroparks, about the important data this partnership will bring to both the zoo wildlife and community.
Shane Goode spoke about how the coyotes brought this partnership together and how they are excited to work together to continue to research long-term.
“So a couple of years ago, we noticed that we had coyotes living in the wooded area behind the Akron Zoo. And so this naturally got us thinking about our animal collection and how we needed to learn more about the coyotes that were living back there. So, we naturally reached out to Summit Metroparks because we knew that they had experience in monitoring urban coyotes,” Goode said.
The Akron Zoo saw this as the perfect opportunity to learn more about how coyotes live in rural environments and what type of patterns they follow, since Summit Metroparks already had some experience in researching coyotes.
“We have been studying coyotes for several years for a number of reasons. And one of the reasons is simply — they've been studying us. They are very in tune with human beings. Our goals are to better understand what they are doing and what their needs are, so that in a wild setting like a Metro Park, we can reduce conflict between wildlife and people,” Johnson said.
Both Goode and Johnson believe that there is a bigger picture within all of this research.
“So, whether it's grizzly bears, red wolves or, in this case, coyotes, we want to encourage people and our zoo visitors to learn to coexist with wildlife so that we can guarantee a bright future for all animal species,” Goode said.
Not only will this partnership benefit the wildlife that exists within the Akron Zoo and Summit Metroparks, but it will also be a beneficial opportunity for the community to have a more immersive and inclusive experience with learning about the different wildlife.
“We really view Akron Zoo as being one of the conservation hubs of our community, and so we look forward to working with them, with Summit Metroparks, in the future on other projects where we can really promote wildlife and conservation throughout our community,” said Goode.
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