Humans and carnivores can coexist in King County.



The Washington Urban–Wildland Carnivore Project is exploring ways to promote coexistence among humans and carnivores in King County. A collaboration between Woodland Park Zoo and the University of Washington (UW) School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, the research explores how carnivores respond to urbanization and human activity by studying where and when they occur, what they eat, and what happens to the system when apex carnivores are absent. Woodland Park Zoo Senior Conservation Scientist Robert Long, PhD, oversees the project for the zoo, and UW graduate student Michael Havrda coordinates and conducts research on the ground. Mr. Havrda is co-advised by Aaron Wirsing, PhD, from the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.

Focal species include cougars (Puma concolor), black bears (Ursus americanus), bobcats (Lynx rufus), coyotes (Canis latrans), raccoons (Procyon lotor), striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis), domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) and domestic cats (Felis catus).

As human development continues to expand, research on species that occur within the urban–wildland gradient helps set the stage for land-use planning, public education, outreach and conservation. We are deploying remote cameras in forest patches on federal, state, municipal and private lands along a gradient of human development intensity, from urban to wildland. The cameras are placed along game or human trails, roads or other landscape features that maximize the probability of detecting the focal species.