I heard this weekend that there’s at least one coyote living permanently in Central Park. Everyone’s heard a story like that recently — bears, coyotes, and other carnivores stalking through city streets and parks, right where we’d least expect them. But according to a new study, certain carnivores — raccoons and coyotes — do better in cities than in rural areas. Conservation Magazine reports:
One team found seven times more coyotes per square kilometer in urban parts of southern California than rural areas, and raccoons have reached an “astonishing” 333 animals per square kilometer in one Fort Lauderdale, Florida park, about four to 400 times their density in the countryside.
OK, so we knew raccoons liked going through your trash. But the point is that it’s silly for humans to think cities are for people and “nature” is for animals. Medium-sized carnivores like raccoons and coyotes apparently do best in cities: They’re sneaky enough to figure out how to navigate streets and parks and everything in between and big enough to fight off the tough city cats and dogs that resent the intrusion on their turf.