Morphometrics and Movement Patterns of Coyote-like Canids in a Southwest Louisiana Marsh Complex

We examined relative body size and space use patterns of free-ranging coyote (Canis latrans)-like canids occupying a marsh complex known to have been one of the last refuges of red wolves (Canis rufus). Morphometric analysis indicated that these animals were larger than other Louisiana coyotes, but smaller than red wolves. We radio-tagged 25 (13 male and 12 female) animals during January-August 1996 and January-April 1997 at Sabine National wildlife Refuge, Cameron Parish, Louisiana. Based on 10 individuals (4 males and 6 females) for which we had adequate data, annual MCP (100% Minimum Convex Polygon) home ranges averaged 12.99±2.97 km2 (x±1 SE) and did not differ by sex (P=0.85). Five other radio-tagged animals dispersed from the study area, but stayed within marsh-dominated areas. Canids included human activity zones in their home ranges more often than expected (P=0.01). Levees were preferred as travel paths (P=0.04). We found no evidence that canids avoided human activity zones (P=0.055) or a seismic work area (P= 1.0).

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