The rare footage of the best buddies has captivated social media.
- Posted on Feb 12, 2020
It looks like the beginning of a best-selling children’s book or TV show. The wily coyote playfully convinces the slower-moving badger to take off on a nighttime escapade by climbing into a dark tunnel. Who knows what adventures these two furry friends could get up to?
In reality, it’s a video recently posted by Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), a non-profit environmental conservation group based in the San Francisco Bay area, that shows the two creatures setting off to hunt together along a Northern California mountain range.
A remote sensor camera, one of 50 that are deployed by POST, in partnership with Pathways for Wildlife, near the Santa Cruz Mountains, captures the playful pair disappearing into a culvert designed to divert water flow. The cameras are intended to track how wildlife interact with major roadways and other man-made structures.
While they may seem like an unlikely duo, coyotes and badgers actually make frequent—and highly effective—hunting partners; the slow moving badger digs out prey—and the super-speedy coyote chases it down. Still, Neal Sharma, POST's wildlife linkages program manager, believes this is the first documentation showing a coyote and badger using a human-made structure to travel safely.
“It’s pretty noteworthy,” Sharma told Guideposts.org about the footage, which gives the organization a greater perspective on how animals interact with man-made structures. “It’s good information for us to think about the science and practice around how to make different types of wildlife crossings for different species.”
According to Sharma, protecting wildlife habitats is increasingly important. "People understand that we need to protect key areas of habitat and development and we need to sometimes restore habitats there,” he told CNN. “But there's this other side, and it's the reality of trying to conserve wildlife in very densely populated urban areas that have highways crisscrossing the landscape.”
The tweet containing POST's 13-second clip instantly went viral, with over 20 million views—and counting! The organization then shared an extended video that shows the coyote and badger were together for an hour or two before playfully entering the tunnel together.
“I hope it inspires folks to find out about organizations near them that are involved in this kind of work," Sharma told Guideposts.org. "I hope they'll help out however they can. There’s a lot that we can do by learning more in order to essentially be better community members.”