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Project for Urban Mammals of Albuquerque (PUMA)

Information about the Project for Urban Mammals of Albuquerque (PUMA)

What is PUMA?

Have you ever wondered about the wildlife that shares our city? If after dark, coyotes and raccoons venture out into our parks, or whether coyotes cruise the arroyos to get around town? As members of a community that values its connection to nature, these are things we’re curious about! PUMA will use camera traps to answer these questions and more, as well as engage and educate our community about our local wildlife and the ways we can coexist.

Who are we?

PUMA is a collaboration between the University of New Mexico Department of Biology Smith Lab and the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department. We are a partner of the Urban Wildlife Information Network (UWIN), an established international network that aims to monitor and understand urban wildlife on local to global scales.

Why Albuquerque?

Albuquerque is a desert city bisected by the Rio Grande and associated Bosque, which provide a unique habitat for wildlife living inside our city. Albuquerque boasts a variety of organizations that conduct important ecological research and outreach, yet as of now, most local environmental work is centered around our riparian area. PUMA expands on this focus to the wildlife living throughout the city. Through PUMA, we are answering questions that fall under two broad categories:

  1. What influences urban wildlife occupancy, movement, and behavior within Albuquerque and how can this be used to inform city planning and to mitigate potential human-wildlife conflict?
  2. How can studying urban wildlife in Albuquerque and other arid cities help us understand larger-scale patterns of animal behavior and movement in arid urban environments?

How are we doing this?

PUMA monitors a camera trapping transect that includes several dozen sites equipped with trail cameras throughout the city. Our transect comprises a variety of green spaces across an urbanization gradient, including city parks, golf courses, undeveloped land, Bosque habitat, and more! These motion-activated trail cameras capture photographs of animals such as coyotes, skunks, porcupines, and more to help us understand more about the mammal community here in Albuquerque.

Urban wildlife resources:

The City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department provides information about wildlife commonly found in Albuquerque and how to respond to urban wildlife here

Follow along!

You can follow along with PUMA on Twitter and Instagram (@puma_abq), where we post project updates, photos, and tips for living alongside urban wildlife.

Please direct any questions you have about PUMA to [email protected] or [email protected]