Sunday, June 12, 2011

The circle of life...

The winter has been so long this year and emergence of a lot of species has been delayed. As researchers, we have to deal with this by just sitting in the snow for long periods waiting for our study animals to emerge. While observing we can just have a granola bar if we get hungry, but what about predators if their prey are not around?

Photo by Rebecca Richardson

This is the story of the coyote that lives in our study area. When we arrived, he was in good shape, very active looking for something to eat, but as the time has passed, this coyote was getting more and more skinny.

This was the early June, the marmots were out and the coyote very hungry. We had some new individuals down valley that we have been observing carefully and waiting for the right time to start trapping to give them a name and a mark. Unfortunately, this is not going to happen to the small one.

It was this morning when all of marmots were sitting just next to their burrows when one marmot met some misfortune. He was in middle of nowhere when he met face to face with the coyote!

The marmot fight against the coyote is depicted below. I am sure the coyote got bitten by the marmot, but this was not enough of a fight for this marmot to escape from a starving coyote.

Photo: Adriana Maldonado

After handling the marmot for about 30 minutes, the coyote left the site, but the other marmots just stayed safely inside their burrows and the morning went so slowly after this incident.

To read more about coyotes, check out the wikipedia...

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