March 8, 2019
ICYMI: Stan Gehrt on McGraw’s Coyote Research
McGraw photo
On March 1, Dr. Stan Gehrt presented the latest research from McGraw’s ongoing Urban Coyote Research Project, now in its 19 th year. Dr. Gehrt, director of the McGraw Center for Wildlife Research and a full professor at The Ohio State University, is one of the world’s foremost experts in mammalian predators.

Besides presenting the research, Dr. Gehrt dispelled some common myths about coyotes and offered advice to members who are seeing more of the animals in their area.

How McGraw is Helping to Explain
Antimicrobial Resistance in Wildlife
By Shane McKenzie/McGraw
McGraw photo
Despite the advancements of our modern era, we humans have found ourselves in a predicament. The use of antibiotics in human and animal medicine has led to antimicrobial resistance, and according to the Centers for Disease Control, this presents one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.

Antimicrobial resistance happens when germs such as bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. In addition, the newly resistant bacteria are spreading, heightening concerns.

Recently the McGraw Research Department, in collaboration with the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota, has sampled urban wildlife in hopes of better understanding the role wildlife species may play in circulating bacteria, and the implications.

This work, based at McGraw, is overseen by PhD student Katherine Worsley-Tonks, who is especially interested in how antimicrobial resistance spread by wildlife can affect pet dogs. 

Like Your New Parka? Thank a Trapper
By Michael Hill/Associated Press
Photo by nature80020/flickr
Those fur-trimmed parkas so common on city sidewalks have become a boon to backwoods trappers.

Coyote fur pelts are in big demand to provide the lush, silvery or tawny-tinged arcs of fur on the hoods on Canada Goose coats and their many global imitators. A good western coyote, prized for its silky, light-colored fur, can fetch more than $100. The top price at a recent Colorado auction hit $170, a 40 percent increase from four years ago.

"Coyotes are hot," says John Hughes, a longtime buyer at J and M Furs in Roundup, Montana, "and it's all due to the trim trade."

Late fall and early winter are the prime trapping time, when coyote coats are at their fullest, but a lot of the selling happens in late winter.

Of Paddlefish, Russians and Faux Caviar
By David Gauvey Herbert/Longreads
Photo by Josh More/flickr
Not long ago, Mike Reynolds was working at Cody’s Bait and Tackle when two men entered the shop with a jingle. He identified them right away by their accents as Russians. The two men began rifling through fishing poles that didn’t yet have price tags. Reynolds asked them to stop. They ignored him and continued to lay rods on the floor.

So when he asked them to leave and they did not comply, there seemed only one option left. He removed a .40-caliber pistol from under the counter, chambered a round, and placed it on the counter.

“I fear for my life,” he said in a slow, deliberate drawl. He wanted to cover his bases, legally, for whatever came next.

The two men looked up, backed out of the store, and never returned.

It was just another dustup in the long-running war between caviar-mad Russians, local fishermen, and the feds that centers on this unlikely town in the Ozarks and a very curious fish.

Latest Threat to African Wildlife: Electricity
By Rachel Nuwer/The New York Times
Photo by Nik Borrow/flickr
South Africa is a country of ranches, farms, reserves and national parks, many surrounded by miles of electric fencing. The fencing keeps out unwanted animal and human intruders, and protects livestock and desirable wildlife.

But the fencing also has a deadly, unintended side effect: It frequently kills smaller animals, particularly birds and reptiles that scientists are eager to conserve. Trip wires are often to blame. Positioned about half a foot off the ground, the wires are meant to send a deterring zap to hungry lions and crop-raiding bush pigs.

But not all creatures respond by turning tail. Tortoises that hit a tripwire withdraw into their shells rather than retreat, while pangolins curl over the wire into a defensive ball. The animals stay put, shocked until their hearts give out.

“Coyotes move within a landscape of attentiveness. I have seen their eyes in the creosote bushes and among mesquite trees. They have watched me. And all the times that I saw no eyes, that I kept walking and never knew, there were still coyotes.”

-Craig Childs
To read past McGraw Reports click here.