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The Conservation Agency is a scientific, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the conservation of natural biodiversity: the world’s fauna and flora. We are distinctly different from the many other fine conservation organizations because we concentrate on scientific research and publication of results, usually in peer-reviewed journals. Our efforts can be divided into two broad, overlapping areas:

Exploration and Discovery    We head out into the field, often to remote corners of the world, searching for new species, lost species, critical habitats, and insights into ecological relationships. We do population assessments, animal behavior research, and recovery plans. We get muddy, or sandy, or sweaty, or sometimes thoroughly chilled  – or all of those things. We catch animals, collect plant specimens, and document habitats.   We write up our results and publish them.

Conservation and Management    Based on our fieldwork, we produce management plans for individual species, particular habitats, and even whole ecosystems. We get this information into the hands of governmental agencies, land acquisition organizations, and stewardship groups. We even directly manage some sites ourselves, such as Snake Acres in the Lower Florida Keys and the Guana Island Wildlife Sanctuary in the British Virgin Islands.

Our efforts begin at home in southeastern New England, extend across North America, and include the West Indies, East Indies, China, Australia, and sometimes Africa: from Nantucket to New Caledonia, Newfoundland to Tasmania. Our list of over 450 publications provides an overview of our accomplishments and activities

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Sherlock dodged a bullet thanks to Taylor Point.

In the last two weeks not one of the collared coyote “Sherlock’s” GPS points has fallen in the feeding hotspots we found at Taylor Point, Jamestown. There was not one report about her to the police. It is clear from the GPS data that people stopped providing food for her in residential, commercial, and public areas on the Point.

NBCS has been visiting her food subsidy hotspots weekly since January, as we do with all our GPS-collared coyotes. When these points overlap with residences or businesses, we talk to the people there to figure out what’s attracting her, and potentially other coyotes. Along with her natural foraging areas (meadows, scrublands, forests), NBCS found three different places she was getting fed by people. At each hotspot we explained to the people in charge the problems food subsidies create and suggested they revise what they were doing. From the current data we can say it is absolutely working: there are distinct changes in Sherlock’s travel paths. While the coastal bramble thickets at Taylor Point are still her favorite sleeping spot she is foraging more widely on natural foods. Good going Taylor Point.

She still can be seen pouncing on meadow voles in areas with tall grass both along the coast at Taylor Point and even at Shoreby Hill if you are a night owl or early riser. If you don’t like seeing her you can cut the grass short. Meadow voles, her favorite, will vacate and with the food gone she will not bother to hang around. This coyote ranges the entire length of the island when she forages. Jamestowners, let’s see if we can keep Sherlock - and other coyotes - out of future trouble by conscientiously disposing of edible waste, never tossing or leaving her food, and hazing her if if she seems comfortable in residential areas.

The Jamestown Police have been very proactive by removing open trash at the Taylor Point Lookout and educating residents. Remember it is illegal to place out food attractants of any kind for coyotes under state regulations and town ordinance. Relocation is illegal.

Photo: Scott Burns, Ft. Getty mousing field. Map: NBCS current Sherlock data (Mar 29, 2021).
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Please haze Sherlock

Of the more than 40 coyotes we have caught and collared since we began the study, only 2 have been indifferent to or unwary of people. One is Sherlock, the newest coyote collared on Jamestown. She is helping the study by identifying food resources used by coyotes on the island. This week she has been reported in town during daylight hours. Mostly she is “mousing,” catching meadow voles, which seem to be her mainstay. She will eat garbage, however, and we suspect people may be intentionally feeding her.

Why: This week a coyote was killed on 138 in Jamestown and retrieved and necropsied by NBCS. It’s stomach was stuffed full of dog food. More than a bowlful. This coyote was also extremely fat. One feeder is sufficient to convince a coyote that people are harmless and that begging might get them to put out food. One feeder in residential areas will train coyotes to forage in town and create coyote traffic. This increases the chance of human and pet encounters.

Sherlock does not seem to be aggressive at all and for the most part ignores passers by as she hunts for mice. She was recently photographed mousing at the Shorby Hill meadow and by Bob Keough who sent NBCS this video of her pouncing and rolling in the snow on the grassy berm of the Newport bridge.

If you see her in town, the kindest thing you could do is to aggressively haze her as she passes through. It is illegal to relocate coyotes. If you don’t want her mousing on your lawn cut the grass short. Don’t leave out accessible garbage, recycling, or food, and don’t feed coyotes or other wildlife. It’s illegal for a good reason. See “What to do if you see a coyote” (youtu.be/IgDhic3Wc-o) for tips on hazing.
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youtu.be/IgDhic3Wc-o ...

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NBCS update: Sherlock turns out to be quite the rambler! On the map attached you can see that much of her activity is focused on Taylor Point as shown by the pile of GPS points and the lines of travel leading to and from. She led us to one of her food sources there this week at the Taylor Point Lookout. Check out this photo shot by Mike Cappuccilli who caught her taking advantage of open trash barrels on a snowy Feb 19.

Anyone got a caption for that?
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