Cataloging Urban Wildlife

Coyotes are but one of many species that make their homes in urban environments.  Consequently, part of the DUCP team, Colorado State University, and Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, IL have partnered to develop a broad-sweeping initiative to describe the biodiversity of two prominent urban areas in Northern Colorado - Fort Collins and Denver, CO. 


Background: Cities around the world provide homes to an abundance of wildlife.  These species can inspire and fascinate us, and help enrich our urban experience.  But wildlife can also have negative interactions with humansthat range from disease transmission to humans, and in rare cases, animal attacks on people and pets. To understand the various costs and benefits of urban wildlife, societies must first catalogue biodiversity within each city.

In order to do this, the Urban Wildlife Institute (UWI) at Lincoln Park Zoo established a nationwide urban biodiversity assessment to understand how wildlife use urban areas around the United States.  UWI has pioneered a new strategy for long-term data collection on urban species using remotely-triggered cameras and other non-invasive techniques to monitor wildlife species. These strategies were developed at field sites along urban to rural gradients across Chicago. In the past five years, UWI has assembled the largest repository of urban wildlife camera data in the world.  

Current Projects: Only by collecting data in other cities can we understand which ecosystem dynamics or urban wildlife systems are universal, and which vary regionally.  To that end, we propose Fort Collins, Colorado as an excellent candidate to join the newly-formed Urban Wildlife Information Network (UWIN).  Both Fort Collins and Denver, CO are unique cities to establish long-term biodiversity monitoring programs because:

(1)   Woven throughout the two cities are both artificial (e.g. bike trails) and natural (e.g. rivers) corridors that provide excellent connectivity for a myriad of species to travel across the landscape.

(2)   Associates and partners at Colorado State University, CU-Denver, and the National Wildlife Research Centers have major interest in contributing as partners to this greater urban biodiversity initiative.

(3)   Fort Collins and Denver residents actively utilize open space and natural areas. Therefore, it will be integral to understand wildlife species composition in these metropolitan areas to effectively engage different sectors of the public about coexisting with wildlife and other relevant issues.

More Information: If you want to know more information - about the project, how you can participate as a citizen scientist, or if you simply have questions or concerns - you can leave a voicemail for either Dr. Chris Schell or Ashley Gramza at (970) 658-0839 and will we do our utmost to get back to you in a timely manner.  You can also send an email to Dr. Schell at chris.j.schell@aphis.usda.gov.