Tracking: Astro

Astro Collaring Oct 19 2012

Astro ready to wake and releaseAstro is a male coyote less than one year old. We trapped and released him with a wireless tracking collar designed by NBCS scientists on Oct 19 2012. This is the first time one of these collars has been used and makes Astro the world’s first texting coyote.

Using the ATT wireless network, the collar text-messages the location of the coyote to our database 24 hours/day.

Astro is a member of pack that has troubled neighborhoods in Middletown Rhode Island for about two years. Members of his pack are frequently observed by the community even during the day.

We are tracking Astro to learn why he and his pack-members venture into neighborhoods. We map Astro’s texted GPS locations daily to identify areas he frequents (hotspots) and navigate to them in the field. Often coyotes are attracted to food – especially “easy pickings” like pet foods or garbage. Texting coyotes, like Astro, will help us locate significant food attractions in residential areas and alert us to clean them up. We hope that information we get from Astro and other coyotes like him will help us live more safely with urban wildlife.

Astro plus 4 Oct 21 2012

Weighing AstroLeft: From camera traps we already know Astro has at least four other pack members. Astro was seen travelling with these animals on October 21 2012 (click on arrow for video, left). Astro is easy to recognize because he is wearing the collar. The other coyotes are likely his siblings.

Right: Weighing Astro before release. Study Veterinarian Dr. Ralph Pratt reads Astro’s weight (39 lbs) before he administers the reversal agent for the anesthesia. Astro remains sedated for only 20 minutes. The team has to work quickly to measure, weigh, draw blood samples, and collar before he starts to starts to awaken. The reversal agent insures the coyote is alert upon release.