Eastern Coyote in Nova Scotia
Dr. Simon Gadbois, a professor at Dalhousie University who specializes in the study of canids and animal behaviour, said in an interview that there is no evidence to support the claims made by DNR. "The only people that may have said something to that affect would be Timm and Baker, papers that by the way DNR keeps throwing at people when people ask for where their scientific studies come from. The problem with the Timm and Baker papers, first of all is that one of them is a non peer-reviewed article and the other one is an opinion, it's not actually based on data," said Gadbois. "Other than that, no, there's nobody that actually agrees with this idea that trapping or bounties work," he added.
Gadbois explained that in order to teach coyotes to fear humans you have to help the animals make the connection between a negative experience and the human factor that caused it. "You have to be so clear to the coyotes that whatever you do is really directly associated with humans and trapping does almost everything the other way. You have to reduce the association of any kind of stimuli associated with humans, sounds, sights or scents for trapping to work, otherwise the coyotes will avoid the traps, so the logic there is flawed in my opinion. I've never seen the connection here," said Gadbois.
"There's been some work done in the states and I'll have to get back to you, the name's not on the tip of my tongue at the moment, but there is some suggestion that this type of trapping has an effect on the behaviour with the remaining [coyotes]," said Boudreau when asked if there is any scientific evidence to support the DNR's position. "Scientifically proven, I don't know if that's been done yet, but there's certainly anecdotal [evidence] that suggests that," he went on to clarify. "We call this in the trade a cultural transmission, I learn something and I pass it on to you, or you see me get trapped and you avoid traps, there's just absolutely no evidence at all in coyotes or in terms of avoiding traps in any animals I know. I just see this as a ploy to get people to go out and trap animals," says Marc Bekoff, a board member of Project Coyote who has studied coyotes for 40 years and is a professor emeritus at the University of Colorado.
Eastern Coyote in Nova Scotia
The pelt-incentive program has paid out $20 a piece for 3,340 pelts this year according to the DNR release. It also states that its goal is not to reduce the overall population of coyote's in Cape Breton. The initiative is the provincial response to a number of coyote attacks that have occurred over the past few years in Cape Breton.
It is part of a four part plan that includes provisions for education among the communities of Cape Breton targeting youth as well as training trappers to respond to specific cases of aggressive behaviour and the hiring of a wildlife conflict biologist.
The learning resources compiled by the Department of Natural resources on coyotes can be found on their website at http://www.gov.ns.ca/natr/ and http://www.gov.ns.ca/natr/wildlife/living-with-wildlife/be-coyote-smart.asp.
More information about the work of Dr. Simon Gadbois can be found at http://www.gadbois.org/simon/. Information about Marc Bekoff can be found at http://www.literati.net/Bekoff/.More information about coyotes can be found at http://www.projectcoyote.org/.