The original estimates of the greater Chicago coyote population were woefully low. The researchers had expected to find a few small coyote packs here and there throughout the city, with total population numbers in the range of several dozen. But the animals were everywhere.
"We couldn't find an area in Chicago where there weren't coyotes," Gehrt said. "They've learned to exploit all parts of their landscape."
Since the beginning of the study, the researchers have caught and tagged more than 200 coyotes. They estimate that there may be somewhere between several hundred and a couple thousand coyotes living in Chicago .
Some of the animals live in city parks, while others live among apartment and commercial buildings and in industrial parks.
The funding agency, Cook County Animal Control and Conservation Medicine Coalition, renews the study every year because the researchers keep finding results that surprise them. This spring, Gehrt will publish the first round of papers from the last six years' worth of research.
The major findings include: