Coexistence across space and time: social-ecological patterns within a decade of human-coyote interactions in San Francisco.

Published online
22 Mar 2024
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
People and Nature

Wilkinson, C. E. & Caspi, T. & Stanton, L. A. & Campbell, D. & Schell, C. J.
Contact email(s)

Publication language
California & USA


enThis link goes to a English sectionesThis link goes to a Spanish sectionzhThis link goes to a Spanish section Global change is increasing the frequency and severity of human-wildlife interactions by pushing people and wildlife into increasingly resource-limited shared spaces. To understand the dynamics of human-wildlife interactions and what may constitute human-wildlife coexistence in the Anthropocene, there is a critical need to explore the spatial, temporal, sociocultural and ecological variables that contribute to human-wildlife conflicts in urban areas. Due to their opportunistic foraging and behavioural flexibility, coyotes (Canis latrans) frequently interact with people in urban environments. San Francisco, California, USA hosts a very high density of coyotes, making it an excellent region for analysing urban human-coyote interactions and attitudes toward coyotes over time and space. We used a community-curated long-term data source from San Francisco Animal Care and Control to summarise a decade of coyote sightings and human-coyote interactions in San Francisco and to characterise spatiotemporal patterns of attitudes and interaction types in relation to housing density, socioeconomics, pollution and human vulnerability metrics, and green space availability. We found that human-coyote conflict reports have been significantly increasing over the past 5 years and that there were more conflicts during the coyote pup-rearing season (April-June), the dry season (June-September) and the COVID-19 pandemic. Conflict reports were also more likely to involve dogs and occur inside of parks, despite more overall sightings occurring outside of parks. Generalised linear mixed models revealed that conflicts were more likely to occur in places with higher vegetation greenness and median income. Meanwhile reported coyote boldness, hazing and human attitudes toward coyotes were also correlated with pollution burden and human population vulnerability indices. Synthesis and applications: Our results provide compelling evidence suggesting that human-coyote conflicts are intimately associated with social-ecological heterogeneities and time, emphasizing that the road to coexistence will require socially informed strategies. Additional long-term research articulating how the social-ecological drivers of conflict (e.g. human food subsidies, interactions with domestic species, climate-induced droughts, socioeconomic disparities, etc.) change over time will be essential in building adaptive management efforts that effectively mitigate future conflicts from occurring. Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog.

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