U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

July 2001


Published in Endangered Species UPDATE; JULY/AUGUST 2001 Vol. 18 No. 4.


Ensuring the welfare of wild canid populations depends upon the ability to integrate species biology, the environmental aspects upon which those populations depend, and the factors controlling species abundance. Toward this end, we developed an individual-based computer model using Swarm to mimic natural coyote populations. Swarm is a software platform that allows the user to describe individual behaviors for all individuals, link those behaviors in each concurrent time step, and assemble behaviors and objects in a hierarchical framework. Our model stands apart from previous modeling efforts because it relies on field data and explicitly incorporates behavioral features, such as dominance and territoriality, as major determinates of species demography. Individual variation, such as status within territorial social groups and age-based reproduction are assumed, but assumptions typically associated with most demographic models are not needed. The eventual goal is to incorporate other environmental components such as prey abundance and/or competing carnivores. This type of model could also provide insights into potential management alternatives for when the gray wolf is removed from endangered status in Minnesota.