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Yellowstone National Park Report

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The ecology of natural, unexploited coyote populations is, for the most part, unknown. Whether research is management-oriented or of evolutionary significance, the ecology of natural coyote populations must be understood in the absence of human exploitation. Yellowstone National Park should provide the ideal situation for such an investigation. Not since Adolph Murie's landmark study 50 years ago (Murie 1940) has a comprehensive, objective study of coyote ecology been undertaken in the Yellowstone ecosystem. The objectives of this project are to: 1. assess effects of 1988 fires on coyote survival, reproduction, activities, pack and territorial dynamics, 2. estimate coyote population density and quantify their ecological role preceding potential wolf (Canis lupus) restoration, 3. quantify the effect of winter elk carrion availability and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) density on coyote population dynamics, 4. describe coyote seasonal responses to movements of elk and mule deer, 5. test if coyote pack size is related to prey size, territory size, size of litters, and pup survival, 6. describe interspecific interactions among scavengers, and 7. document predation on ranch livestock by coyotes from Yellowstone; and on allotments on National Forests adjacent to the northern range.