Uncle Sam Needs You ... to Collect Coyote Poop (Really)

A scene nearly out of Collateral: A coyote tagged as C-144 in one of the West Coast's densest neighborhoods, Westlake.
A scene nearly out of Collateral: A coyote tagged as C-144 in one of the West Coast's densest neighborhoods, Westlake.
File photo by National Park Service

National Park Service researchers want to know what L.A.'s urban coyotes eat.

So naturally, they're asking citizens to collect the canids' poop so they can embark on closer examinations.

They want to follow up on a coyote food study that took place between 1996 and 2004 in the suburban Conejo Valley that straddles Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Back then, the federal government's well-paid animal-poop scientists discovered that the Real Coyotes of Calabasas ate rabbits, pocket gophers, woodrats, mice, backyard fruit and, sometimes, your pet cats.

What do the gangsta coyotes of L.A.'s more urban areas, from Boyle Heights to Beverly Hills, eat? Do we really want to know?

Feds want to know. 

"Do these coyotes, who deal with more concrete, traffic [and] people and fewer open spaces, [subsist] on a similar or different diet?" the National Park Service asks in a statement.

To address this fecal matter, the service is creating a Coyote Scat Team. "No experience is necessary," the federal bureaucracy stated.

Really? There are recreational coyote-poop collectors out there? (Somehow, you know the answer is affirmative.)

Volunteers will have to undergo scat-collection training June 4 at the Audubon Center at Ernest E. Debs Regional Park. There are "proper scat-collection procedures," the park service says. You don't want to know the improper ways, trust us.

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Participants will be required to perform "walking surveys" monthly, or they can sign up for an even more intensive "analysis team," which will have the honor of analyzing the poop.

Organizers want to develop 30 collection points in communities that would include Beverly Hills, Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, Echo Park, El Sereno, Hollywood, Lincoln Heights, Los Feliz, Griffith Park, Mount Washington and Westlake.

Volunteers also will be sought to compare findings to the Conejo Valley coyote crap. They'll gather at Santa Monica Mountains Interagency Visitor Center. More info on that will be forthcoming, the park service said.

"We hear plenty of anecdotal evidence about what coyotes eat, but it’s actually never been studied in L.A. before," Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area coyote field research biologist Justin Brown said. "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."

Volunteering for this would be a great way to shut down anyone's talk about what a bad day they had. You could tell them that you had a crap-filled day. Literally.


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