Edwards Air Force Base partners with Colorado State to tag and track wildlife.

  • Published
  • By Adam Bowles
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

Have you ever seen a bobcat or a coyote wandering around Edwards Air Force Base? Well, there is a group from Colorado State that is helping to track and tag the wildlife to help change from wildlife conflict between humans to co-existence. Although bobcats and coyotes perform crucial roles in nature, notably in the formation of natural food webs, their presence in regions where humans and pets dwell can lead to problems.

For example in 2016 an aggressive bobcat attacked several small dogs in base housing.

According to the Colorado State University Center of Environmental Management of Military Lands, CEMML, through knowledge, research, and education, interactions between humans and wildlife can change from conflict to coexistence.

On Edwards, little is known regarding bobcat and coyote activities, especially in regions where wildlife zones meet public areas. In order to raise awareness of coyote and bobcat movements and the resources they utilize, CEMML will track these creatures that dwell near public locations on base such as schools, commercial, housing, and play spaces.

"So basically what we are out here trying to do is we’re trying to understand how carnivores are using the Air Force installation and the purpose of that is to help reduce potential conflict between the base population and the wildlife that are out here,” said Jennie Anderson, CEMML, Environmental Management.

Ten bobcats and ten coyotes living near developed areas on base will be caught and fitted with temporary GPS collars that will track their movements via satellite for up to a year before dropping off naturally, according to CEMML. The animals must first be sedated for a short period of time.

"So the medications we are using are a sedative. They are not that strong," Steven Nagy, CEMML, Wildlife Biologist said. "That's obviously beneficial; it’s an easier drug for the animal to handle and they can wake up a lot faster. Also, with these particular medications we have reversal medications which allows us to wake them up within a few minutes so they can get back to their normal lives a lot faster."

Colored ear tags and dyed hair markings will also be applied to collared bobcats and coyotes, so that individual animals may be more clearly identified. The data gathered will reveal which areas bobcats and coyotes prefer, as well as the resources they value, such as food and water. This data will be utilized to create a management strategy and to direct educational outreach.

"We have signs that close off trails and other areas just so we can trap and if we catch an animal in that area we will probably move to another area, close it off so we can get animals around the whole urban area," Adam Dillion, CEMML, Wildlife Ecologist explains.

For more information on this project, contact Edwards AFB Environmental Management:
661-277-1401 ex. 3 or visit: sites.warnercnr.colostate.edu/eafbcarnivores