Wanted: Volunteers To Collect Coyote Poop Because Science

Yes, the National Park Service "Coyote Scat Team" is real and you can join.

Researchers want to collect poop from coyotes in Los Angeles and the U.S. government wants you!

National Park Service researchers are asking for volunteers to help collect poop from urban coyotes as part of a two-year study into their diets and how they may differ from their counterparts in more natural settings.

That's right, the National Park Service is forming the "Coyote Scat Team."

No experience is required, but "citizen scientists" must attend a training session to learn "proper scat collection procedures," and make a minimum six-month commitment to the project.

Volunteers will perform monthly walking surveys starting in June and can help researchers examine scat contents. The entire project is expected to last at least two years and will focus on 30 miles east in L.A.’s urban areas.

"We hear plenty of anecdotal evidence about what coyotes eat, but it’s actually never been studied in L.A. before," Justin Brown, who leads coyote field research for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said in a statement. "This study should yield basic ecology information about the urban coyote, which we hope will assist residents and policymakers in making informed decisions on coyote management.”

Coyotes are a common sight in Los Angeles and surrounding communities, feeding on pet food, small rodents, fallen fruit, house cats, and even small dogs.

Researchers will also collect coyote scat throughout Conejo Valley suburbs and adjacent natural habitat to compare with the urban samples.

For more details and to apply, email samo_superintendent@nps.gov.

Who among you will answer the call?

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