SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Canis latrans;
  • home range;
  • group size;
  • landfill;
  • tropical deciduous forest

Abstract

The effect of an open landfill and the seasonality of a tropical deciduous forest in Jalisco, Mexico, was tested on the home range and group size of coyotes Canis latrans under the Resource Dispersion Hypothesis (RDH), which proposes that in social carnivores dispersion of patches of limited resources determines home-range size, whereas independently, abundance of resources affects group size. The predictions in this study were that coyotes using the landfill, where food is available all year due to the continuous arrival of food wastes that are concentrated in a single patch, would have smaller, seasonally constant home ranges than coyotes living outside, where food is distributed in several patches. In this area, coyotes would increase their home ranges during the dry season due to seasonal changes in resource availability. Also, a larger coyote group size should exist in the landfill, where food abundance is greater. Home-range size and group size of coyotes living in and outside the landfill were estimated by radio-tracking. Home ranges of coyotes in the landfill varied from 0.9 to 9.5 km2, whereas home-range sizes of coyotes outside the landfill varied from 10.9 to 43.7 km2. Seasonality had no effect on the home-range sizes. We identified a group of four adult coyotes in the landfill and no group formation in coyotes outside. These results support the predictions about home-range and group size of coyotes in relation to landfill presence, and indicate that under the circumstances of our study, coyotes follow the postulates proposed by the RDH.