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First-Of-Its-Kind Project Studies Coyotes, Foxes In Twin Cities

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The University of Minnesota Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology started a first-of-its-kind study about coyotes and foxes in the Twin Cities.

The three-year project aims to learn more about the animals that, according to some researchers, have been more active in the Twin Cities. Those conducting the sudy hope to learn about where coyotes and foxes go, what they eat, and whether they carry any diseases.

"We collect information by capturing, sedating, and putting collars on them that relay satellite locations to our desk," researcher Nick McCann said. "We can learn about their movement patters, when they go places, where they go… that sort of thing."

McCann says the vast majority of coyotes and foxes do not harm people or pets, and their research does not hurt the animals. They capture the animals by setting up a collar trap, similar to prong collars used by dog owners. Researchers can then sedate the animal, take a fur and blood sample, then safely release it at the same location.

People who have seen coyotes or foxes in their neighborhood can submit a photo, to help the research. The project already has more than 800 photos, from all over the metro area. He has advice for people who would rather not participate, and generally don't like what they see.

"Keep your trash sealed, don't feed your dogs outside because you might actually be feeding coyotes who are also in your neighborhood at night," McCann said. "If you have bird feeders out that are also feeding small mammals -- because the birds' feed falls on the ground -- you might be bringing in coyotes who are also feeding on those small mammals then."

The project is set to last until 2022 and is funded by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, from the State of Minnesota. It's being conducted alongside the Three Rivers Park District, Friends of the Mississippi River, Bloomington Animal Control and USFWS.

Click here to submit photos of coyotes and foxes in your neighborhood.

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