Fox research team launches crowd-funding project

 In the fall of 2012, a research team at UPEI launched a website where the public could report their sightings of red foxes on Prince Edward Island. Today, the team behind upei.ca/redfox launches a new crowd-funding project to help fund the next stages of their research so that we can improve our understanding of one of PEI’s largest predators.

“A fox-sightings map gave us information regarding the distribution and relative abundance of foxes in Charlottetown, particularly during the fall. We have also collected anecdotal evidence regarding their behaviour, including the potential location of dens. All this information has helped us to identify the next steps of the project,” said Dr. Marina Silva-Opps, a terrestrial ecologist and associate professor of biology at UPEI. “For instance, we have used this information to identify sites for our study which will track the movement of foxes.”

The public can and are encouraged to continue reporting fox and den sightings at upei.ca/redfox. Once people have submitted their information, they’ll be encouraged to make a donation at upei.ca/donate. Donors of more than $10 will be given a tax receipt.

The data collected at upei.ca/redfox have been invaluable to the team, as they learn more about the population and distribution of red foxes on PEI.
“In the next phase of the project, we will use GPS collars to track foxes. We will also collect feces (or scat) to learn how they use and move through urban habitats,” said Dr. Silva-Opps. “We will also study where foxes live in urban areas.”

Dr. Silva-Opps’ team is hoping to raise $5,188. This money will help cover the wages for an undergraduate research student and for equipment to help monitor and photograph foxes in their urban habitat.

For more information, and to report a fox or den sighting, visit upei.ca/redfox. To follow along with the progress of the project, and to see photographs collected by our team and the public, “like” the project on Facebook. The page is at facebook.com/upeiurbanfoxproject

Spot a coyote on Prince Edward Island? Report it at upei.ca/coyote

Researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island have launched a new website to help track the population and activity of the Island’s coyotes. The site, upei.ca/coyote, will provide valuable data about this non-native species which first arrived on the Island in the early 1980s. The project is called the Advanced Coyote Mapping Exercise, or ACME.

“It is important to know as much as possible about our coyote population before we can rationalize any approach to co-existing with these animals,” said Dr. Rob Löfstedt, professor of Theriogenology in the Department of Health Management at UPEI’s Atlantic Veterinary College. “Current estimates of the coyote population are based on pelt numbers, and their effects on farm animals, pets, and humans are based on anecdotal information. This site will help to substantiate this knowledge.”

Dr. Löfstedt encourages Islanders with first-hand coyote experiences to visit upei.ca/coyote and record their findings. Visitors to the site will also be able to track the accumulated reports on a map of Prince Edward Island.

Dr. Löfstedt encourages Islanders with first-hand coyote experiences to visit upei.ca/coyote and record their findings. Visitors to the site will also be able to track the accumulated reports on a map of Prince Edward Island.

If a coyote is seen, sighting can be reported by entering the key words "coyote", "acme" and "UPEI" on any computer. This will bring up a site where they can report their observations. Those findings, and all the others reported on PEI, will be available for them to see immediately.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Löfstedt via e-mail at lofstedt@upei.ca.