About the program

Director Dr. Stan Gehrt on a field day

Director Dr. Stan Gehrt on a field day

The Cook County Coyote Project is a comprehensive study of coyotes in Chicago metropolitan areas. In 2000, we initiated the study in a non-biased attempt to address shortcomings in urban coyote ecology information and management. We continue to learn as the Coyote Project is still underway. With the help of many agencies, we live-capture our study subjects, collar, and release at the capture site. Coyotes are monitored in order to understand how they live in urban areas as well as how they interact with other wildlife and domestic animals. 

Our website provides details on the study, information about urban coyotes (including how to avoid conflicts), and a snapshot of the lives of the coyotes we track. By providing the public with our research, we are initiating the first step of coyote management — educating the public and untangling facts from myths. People should become aware of coyote signs and understand the differences between true threats and coexistence. It is important to stress that our relationship with coyotes is directly affected by our behavior. Coyotes react to us, and we can foster mutual respect or a lack of respect through cues we send to them. In our research, our primary interest is in observing and only in very rare occasions do we test manipulation of their behavior.

Coyotes can live near us without conflict (photo credit Karen Voght)

Coyotes can live near us without conflict (photo credit Karen Voght)

We hope you find answers to your questions on this website. If not, or to provide feedback on a new sighting of a collared coyote in your area, please feel free to contact us. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about these animals.

736 getting outfitted

Coyote 736 was a healthy, young male that we trapped and collared on the southwest side of Chicago on June 2, 2013. His tail had a unique deformity — short, with a twist that resembled a pug's tail, so beginning his nickname of "Pug" (although we don't normally name coyotes, sometimes nicknames help our researchers communicate with the media when referring to animals). We were very excited to learn from this animal given his location. Pug traversed some of the most urban, rugged streets of Chicago and didn't seem to draw any attention anywhere.