- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A team of students from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is conducting research on foxes and coyotes in hopes of learning how the animals and humans can peacefully coexist.

Forest and wildlife associate professor David Drake and his students are humanely trapping the animals, running tests, then fitting them with tracking devices. WISC-TV (https://bit.ly/1Did59y ) reported the goal is to learn about traveling patterns, diseases the animals might have, and how they interact with other animals and humans.

“These animals are moving into these areas where people are living,” Drake said. “If that habituation continues and the animals continue to lose their fear of humans, in extreme cases these animals can start becoming aggressive.”

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said residents should stay a safe distance from foxes and coyotes, and should not feed them.

“You don’t want to encourage any contact with the animals. For the most part if you see a coyote you would act around them just like you would a strange dog,” said Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist at the DNR.

Middleton police said they have had several reports of sightings of foxes and coyotes in the city. In each case, there has been no human interaction. Police encourage people to be careful, but say there’s no cause for alarm.

“The nature preserve is there for people to observe and see the animals and they are among the animals that you are going to see and they will wander up in the yards,” said Sgt. Donald Mueller of Middleton police.

Drake hopes these sightings will help spread understanding about the animals.

“It’s fun to give people practical knowledge that they can use in their everyday life. To improve their quality of life but also enjoy the wildlife around them,” Drake said.

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Information from: WISC-TV, https://www.channel3000.com


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