Urban Coyote Program Researchers

Associate Professor & Wildlife Extension Specialist, School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University and Chair of Research, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation

Dr. Stan Gehrt is the Principal Investigator of the Cook County Coyote Project, having initiated the study in 2000. As Chair of the Center for Wildlife Research at the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, he directs a variety of research projects both at the Foundation and around the country. Dr. Gehrt continues to supervise many daily aspects of the project while working full-time as an Associate Professor and Extension specialist at The Ohio State University. He is regarded as an international expert of urban wildlife and his research has been featured in numerous print, radio, and television outlets. Dr. Gehrt is the senior editor of the volume ‘Urban Carnivores’ published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Research interests focus on various aspects of mammalian ecology, especially in urban systems, and dynamics of wildlife disease.

Chris Anchor, working another wildlife project
Senior Wildlife Biologist, Forest Preserve District of Cook County

Chris Anchor has been a long-term partner, supporter, and teacher with the Cook County Coyote Project. When he began with the project in 2000, it was already in a way running based on years of observations from him and others from his team at the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, IL. Through his understanding of many wildlife species, he offers our research the advantage of a broad scope covering multiple elements of wildlife study. He is the "go-to" person to identify any number of rare wildlife species or provide extensive insight to a challenging research initiative. Knowingly (or unknowingly) he has tutored both the new and the experienced, helping our project in the goal of educating scientists in the making. Anchor has been with the FPDCC since 1981 and in his current position since 1986.

Dr. Seth Newsome photo
Assistant Professor, Deptment of Biology, University of New Mexico

Dr. Seth Newsome began collaborating with the Cook County Coyote Project in 2010, initiating a new avenue for research. He has extensive experience as an animal ecologist around the globe and uses his unique background to identify energy flow through ecological communities. Key to his research is the study of diet variations and how those shift in response to anthropogenic factors, thereby affecting the life histories of wildlife. His expertise in stable isotope analysis is allowing us to look at wildlife diets in a highly scientific method; we are grateful for his partnership in helping to better understand the urban coyote diet (among the diets of many other species). (http://sethnewsome.org/sethnewsome/Home.html)

Hance Ellington photo
Post-Doc Researcher, The Ohio State University

Dr. Hance Ellington joined the Cook County Coyote Project in the fall of 2015. He earned his PhD from Trent University, examining individual and population-level drivers of coyote space use. He specializes in movement ecology, population demographics, and ecological data synthesis. He brings his skill set to the project to examine how spatial memory develops, how this development is influenced by the environment, and how spatial memory influences animal movement choices. (https://sites.google.com/site/hanceellington/)

Associate Research Scientist, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation

Shane, a Chicago-area native, earned his BS degree from Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, majoring in Forest Resource Management and minoring in Environmental Studies. He has worked on several wildlife projects across the country focusing on carnivore ecology. Shane started his field career with the Southern Illinois University Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory and then the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation for the first time in 2008-2009. Since then, he was a contributing member to the IGBST in Yellowstone National Park, the U.S. Forest Service in the Sierras of California, and the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Lynx Recovery Program. He returned to Max McGraw early in 2011 to continuing working with the urban carnivore project and became an Associate Researcher in 2014.

Senior Field Technician, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation

Originally from WI, Andy graduated from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point in May 2010, earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Wildlife Research and Management. He enjoys working with a variety of wildlife, with special emphasis on mammals. The opportunity to work with coyotes and other mesocarnivores is what brought him to McGraw. Andy has been a wildlife technician with the research team since August 2011 and has also worked part-time with the Wildlife Management Department of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County since June 2013. 

Abby Prieur, field technician
Senior Field Technician, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation

Abby earned a BS in wildlife management from the University of Georgia in 2012. Since graduating, she has conducted surveys with the Army Corps of Engineers, managed invasive plants for the National Park Service, and interned with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Abby hopes to one day pursue a master’s degree in wildlife management and make a career as an endangered species biologist. She began working at McGraw in early 2014.

Field Technician, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation

Lauren earned a BS degree in Wildlife Science and Conservation Ecology from New Mexico State University in 2010. Since graduating she has worked with multiple species across the country and in Africa. Her goal is to pursue a masters degree in wildlife conservation with a focus on carnivore ecology. She hopes to one day be able to work on carnivore conservation projects all over the world. Lauren began at McGraw in March 2016.

PhD Student, The Ohio State University

Katie earned a BS degree in Zoology with a minor in Biotechnology from North Carolina State University in 2012. As an undergraduate, she participated in a variety of wildlife research projects that prepared her for her current PhD work with The Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources Department. Her research focuses on urban coyote ecology within the Chicago metropolitan area. More specifically, she is examining relationships between coyote habitats, behavior, and stress hormones to place coyotes along a bold-shy “personality” spectrum. Behavioral research currently being conducted as part of her study include flight initiation distance tests and novel object tests. The data collected will later be compared to the overall successes of coyotes in urban, suburban, and forest preserve settings to determine whether some behavioral/physiological adaptations are more beneficial to coyotes within certain habitats. 

Ashley holding sedated coyote
PhD Student, The Ohio State University

Ashley Wurth graduated from Colorado State University in 2013 with a BS in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Science and a BS in Equine Science. She is currently working on her PhD through The Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources Department, conducting her research through Dr. Gehrt’s wildlife lab. The focus of her research involves the connections between coyote behavior, genetics, and ecology. Her objectives are to determine if coyotes exhibit behavioral differences, if genetic markers are present for bold and aggressive behavior, if the environment selects for certain behavior or genes, and how behaviors and genetics influence other aspects of coyote ecology and survival. 

Evan Wilson
Research Assistant

Evan has been long involved with the coyote research program. Having plenty of field experience prior to beginning at McGraw, he started with our project as a technician and "ended" with a MS degree, investigating the presence of sarcoptic mange in the coyote population. He then spent 2013 working on manuscripts and analyzing data after finishing his thesis. Evan devoted countless hours to many projects even while focused on his studies. Although he will still be working on some elements of the research, we wish him the best as he moves into a PhD position studying wildlife population dynamics in Madison, WI.

Heidi Garbe and pup
Research Assistant, The Ohio State University

Heidi is a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, first majoring in biology before earning her BS in Animal Science. She has been involved with a broad range of animals in many fields from domestics to exotics, coordinating multiple projects and elevating standards in animal care. She was the Associate Research Scientist at the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation from 2011-2013 before joining Dr. Gehrt in 2014 with The Ohio State University as a project support researcher.

Geneticist

Dr. Jean Dubach has provided genetic research support to the Cook County Coyote Project for many years. Her research interests are broad but include looking at parasitology as it relates to genetics. She currently operates her conservation genetics lab within the Loyola University Hospital System, providing analytical genetic services to zoos around the world for population management and taxonomic identification.

Dr. Tom Meehan and Dr. Mike Kinsel

We could not provide the quantity and quality of details on animal health without the expertise of Dr. Tom Meehan (Veterinarian, Brookfield Zoo) and Dr. Mike Kinsel (Zoo Pathology Program, University of Illinois). 

Coyote 115 at capture

We were not able to capture the first mate of Coyote 1 prior to his death (likely from a vehicle), but we captured her second mate, Coyote 115, on February 18, 2004, at the peak of the mating season. Coyote 115 was in excellent condition at 18 kg (40 lbs). He remained with Coyote 1 constantly until her death in 2010. Their relationship was interesting to observe, where at times they were inseparable, and other times they would take short breaks from each other. Still, they defended the same territory together continuously after 115’s collaring date.