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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Greater Toronto area resident and writer, Colleen Bain put forth a comprehensive history and human/coyote current paradigm in the December 2014 HUMANITIES FOR THE ENVIRONMENT WEB SITE.......Reinforcing information on why killing Coyotes only "amps up the population" and why co-existence is the only sound course of action to follow going forward across Canada and the USA,d.b2w

Coyote Control: Culls and Coexistence

Predators in the American West were first hunted for their pelts in the 1850s shortly following the introduction of strychnine, and persecution of predators began in earnest in the 1860s-80s around the Great Plains commercial buffalo harvest. The Hinterland Who’s Who page on coyotes offers the following as a brief history of coyote control:
From the time of European settlement, the coyote has been persecuted, because people have blamed it for preying on livestock. It is amazing that the coyote has thrived despite the organized attempts that were made to eradicate it in the first half of the twentieth century. Many governments offered bounties and funded extensive coyote control programs. Farmers often poisoned the carcasses of dead livestock with strychnine and left them in the back pasture for the “brush wolves” to find. A variety of devices and traps were also used to kill coyotes.
Coywolf, Photo by Mike Drew
Coywolf, Photo by Mike Drew
While predator control programs succeeded at extensively reducing wolf numbers and eradicating them from many areas, the coyote has prevailed. It has been found that to have a significant impact in reducing coyote population sizes, over 70% of the population must be removed on a sustained basis, and “even with intensive control efforts, this level is rarely, if ever, achieved.” According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, bounties and culls have been mostly ineffective in reducing conflicts:
Most coyotes removed under these programs are the easy-to-catch juveniles or transient animals passing through an area, not the breeding adults that are most often the problem. In addition, programs such as “bounties” don’t target the specific animals causing the conflict or problem in specific areas, but rather indiscriminately target all coyotes across a broad region. Bounties – financial incentives to hunt and trap – have been illegal in Ontario since 1972…Research also demonstrates that relocating coyotes is not a solution. Coyotes are highly mobile and territorial animals. A relocated coyote usually ends up in a conflict with an older adult, as most areas are already occupied by a dominant pair. Coyotes can also travel hundreds of kilometres to return to their original capture location. As well, relocation increases the potential for spreading disease.
Additionally, studies have found that hunting coyotes can result in increased population numbers. A temporary population size reduction creates a food surplus, which is “biologically transformed into higher litter sizes and higher litter survival rates…[because] the increase in food availability improves the nutritional condition of breeding females which translates in higher pup birth weights and higher pup survival.”Other effects of a temporary reduction in population size and food surplus is lone coyotes moving into the territory, and young coyotes breeding sooner. This process is explained in the following infographic from The Humane Society of the United States:
The Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States
These effects can increase the likelihood of conflicts, as adult coyotes end up with more healthy pups to feed. When packs are stable, there are more adult pack members that “provide more den-guarding time and more food brought to pups…, [so] packs may be able to subsist on larger numbers of smaller prey (e.g., rabbits and small rodents) rather than going for livestock,” which they are more likely to do when they are under pressure to maximize efficiency in hunting for food for pups when there are less adults, and/or more pups.[42] Research has shown that “the primary motivation to kill domestic sheep is to provide food for fast-growing pups.”[42] Coyotes learn what food is appropriate when they are pups, and “are reluctant to try ‘new’ food sources unless under stress (such as having to feed a large litter of pups), [so] reduction programs, in effect, may be forcing coyotes to try new behaviours (eating domestic livestock) which they would otherwise avoid.” These behaviours get passed down to the pups, and conflicts persist. Therefore, not only are coyote culls ineffective at producing a long-term reduction in coyote populations, they also create conditions for increased conflicts.
Human-coyote coexistence programs have been set up by Coyote Watch Canada (CWC) in Niagara Falls, Oakville, and Whitby; the Stanley Park Ecology Society in Vancouver; and Project Coyote’s work has successfully reduced conflicts between sheep owners and coyotes in Marin County, California, and has just set up a program in Superior, Colorado. The CWC strategy includes: non-lethal goals, long term solutions, community scientists, wildlife feeding by-laws, promotion of proper hazing techniques, education and awareness, seasonal alerts, posting coyote awareness signs, and coyote response teams.[43] CWC offers two pamphlets on living with coyotes and coyote hazing, as well as the following the following general awareness sheet:
CWC Coyote Awareness
As discussed earlier, the coyote is a keystone species in the GTA, and have a very important role in balancing ecosystems. Coyotes help farmers through rodent control, and when coexistence measures are in place coyotes will also become territorial, and “will keep other predators and problem coyotes away from livestock areas.”
In summation, coyote populations are thriving across North America despite almost two hundred years of persecution; human-coyote coexistence programs have successfully reduced conflicts; and coyotes are beneficial to both urban and rural ecosystems. However, rhetoric backed by fear and misinformation has allowed the argument that coyotes must be killed prevail more times than not.

Artist - St. George Jackson Mivart, Image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library

Progression of coyote range expansion throughout North America and Mexico, from Urban coyote ecology and management, Cook County, Illinois
Huehuecoyotl in the Codex Borgia.
mark twain cayote
Chuck Jones 1945 original model sheet for Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner

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