Staff from the Colorado Prairie Initiative installed ten wildlife ladders across the Comanche National Grassland this weekend. The wildlife ladders are folded ramps of expanded metal grating that provide an escape route for birds and other animals that fall into stock tanks while trying to take a drink. Staff found several unlucky drowned animals during the installation process, including a red-tailed hawk. There are many tanks throughout the Comanche that still need ladders, and CPI hopes to return in the spring to install more.
The Colorado Prairie Initiative is pleased to announce the start of a year-long research project to study the seasonal variations in coyote diets in shortgrass prairie ecosystems. The research is made possible by a generous grant to two of our staff from Prairie Biotic Research, Inc. The research will use scat analysis methods to analyze the animals’ diets and could have profound implications on predator management on prairie ecosystems.
Coyotes are commonly viewed as threats to livestock and are frequently killed to prevent economic losses. They are also hunted year-round without much management or oversight from wildlife agencies. As predators they are known feed on animals like mice, rabbits, and prairie dogs that are commonly viewed as pests themselves. CPI is hoping that this research will shed light on how coyotes can be better managed at different times throughout the year to prevent conflicts with livestock and humans, while still allowing them to serve the important role of ecosystem predators.
CPI will collect scat samples from across a 25-square mile parcel of the Pawnee National Grassland, using watering tanks as collection spots.