Wildlife biologist John Benson talks about why people are seeing coyotes, foxes and other animals in the city.
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- [00:00:00.101](upbeat stringed music)
- [00:00:02.870]Rhett McClure set up a camera one night
- [00:00:05.300]and captured video of a four-legged visitor.
- [00:00:08.570]I set it up late just to see what I would get
- [00:00:10.570]besides some early morning joggers and, lo and behold,
- [00:00:13.580]the fox came right next to us.
- [00:00:15.630]Two years ago, a fox had a litter of kits
- [00:00:17.930]under a backyard shed,
- [00:00:19.490]and McClure and his family watched them grow.
- [00:00:22.670]Guys, it's a fox.
- [00:00:24.160]The red fox is common in some urban areas
- [00:00:27.080]of the state.
- [00:00:28.120]Coyotes are also making an appearance,
- [00:00:30.180]but wildlife biologist John Benson says
- [00:00:32.850]the animals aren't newcomers.
- [00:00:34.877]People are home, they're out during the day,
- [00:00:37.810]they're not working, they're seeing wildlife more
- [00:00:40.120]because their behavior has changed
- [00:00:42.600]not so much that the wildlife's behavior has changed.
- [00:00:45.360]Benson has tracked wolves in Canada
- [00:00:47.840](pup barks)
- [00:00:48.720]and studied sharks off the coast of California.
- [00:00:52.880]He collaborates with the National Park Service
- [00:00:55.080]on a long-term study of mountain lions
- [00:00:57.500]in the Greater Los Angeles area,
- [00:00:59.720]and he's not surprised at reports of coyotes
- [00:01:02.350]in suburban and metropolitan areas of Nebraska.
- [00:01:05.260]They're an adaptable animal.
- [00:01:06.885]They're generalists in the sense that they eat
- [00:01:09.210]a wide variety of food,
- [00:01:10.640]so they can exploit both natural prey,
- [00:01:14.010]you know we all see a lot of rabbits and squirrels here,
- [00:01:17.210]but then of course there's garbage, human food, pet food.
- [00:01:20.410]Coyotes can eat all of that.
- [00:01:22.240]Coyotes usually avoid humans,
- [00:01:24.440]but Benson says if you come face to face with one...
- [00:01:27.473]I'll stand my ground.
- [00:01:29.440]I would look it right in the face
- [00:01:31.110]and if it continued to come at me,
- [00:01:33.300]you can even yell at it.
- [00:01:34.675]The pandemic-triggered quarantine
- [00:01:37.200]may open new areas of research.
- [00:01:39.460]For example, Benson has been talking with colleagues
- [00:01:41.970]around the world about how closing parks
- [00:01:44.630]affected wildlife behavior.
- [00:01:47.360]Those might be great places if they've been closed.
- [00:01:49.930]All of a sudden you've got wildlife roaming around
- [00:01:52.680]that suddenly doesn't have to deal with human traffic.
- [00:01:55.140]And so what changes at that point?
- [00:01:57.353]In the meantime, city residents should be alert
- [00:02:00.990]but not fearful.
- [00:02:01.933](upbeat stringed music)
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