Scientists to Launch Massive Urban Wildlife Study

Scientists to Launch Massive Urban Wildlife Study

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Scientists at Lincoln Park Zoo are gearing up for a massive study of urban wildlife in the Chicago region.

You may not think much about raccoons in Ravenswood, or coyotes in Lincoln Park, but Chicago is crawling with critters.

And Seth Magle, who studies urban wildlife at the zoo, says they can pose a problem.

MAGLE: People have run-ins between, you know, a coyote and their dog, or with a raccoon. People have raccoons that will get into their trash, or in rare circumstances, will actually move into their attic or something.

So Magle and other researchers are putting cameras at more than 100 sites all over the Chicago region. The idea is to track how and where animals move in urban areas.

With that data, he says scientists can answer several questions.

MAGLE: You know, where does a coyote or a deer decide where to cross a highway? How does it make that decision? What makes it decide that it’s gonna move into a neighborhood and come out of a forest preserve, or something of that nature?

Magle says, in the future, that could influence city planning, which could mean fewer deer getting hit by cars, and fewer raccoons in your attic.