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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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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Predator co-existence policies championed by our friend Camilla Fox of PROJECT COYOTE are gaining traction throughout California, Chicago, Denver and many other locales............ As we begin the final month of 2016, thought a good time for a little reinforcement as to why co-existence (rather than intolerance and force removal-killing)with Coyotes(and other carnivores) is the superior life-paradigm that should become routine practice across our Country........Marin County, the home of San Francisco is a perfect case in point of how folks can buy into and champion living alongside carnivores........As Camilla puts it --- “They(coyotes) are seen a lot, giving people the impression the place is being overrun by coyotes when it is really just one family group,” said Camilla Fox, the executive director of Project Coyote, a national nonprofit group with headquarters in Larkspur"........... “Coyotes do not exceed the biological carrying capacity of an area, which is based on food and habitat availability"............"Fox said that killing coyotes can actually cause their populations to increase by disturbing the pack hierarchy and, in turn, allowing more coyotes to reproduce"...... "In a pack, only the alpha coyotes mate"............... "When the alpha is killed, all the animals disperse and breed"............." In virtually every instance of aggressive behavior, she said, the coyotes had either been fed by humans or were defending their dens during spring pup-rearing season"................ "On average, 20 people a year are killed by family dogs, but there has only been one documented case of a coyote killing a human in the United States — the 1981 death of a 3-year-old who was dragged away from her house in Los Angeles County"............ "It turned out the family had been feeding coyotes"

Marin County 


co-exists with coyotes

December 4, 2016

The three coyotes sleeping in the sun on a
 hillside behind a canopy of trees in Larkspur
 didn’t even flinch when Monte Deignan 
stepped forward with his binoculars this past 
week to monitor the neighborhood pack.

A family of eight coyotes has taken up residence
 in the hills, where homeowners and their pets are 
now on alert, but the 62-year-old Larkspur
 planning commissioner is thrilled to see wildlife
 so close to home.
“This is the perfect urban wildlife habitat,” Deignan 
said, scanning the virtually inaccessible brush-
covered landscape hidden from the road by a line of 
houses. “You realize they are very benign and, hey,
 they are taking care of the rodent problem.”
Yipping coyotes are a bedtime routine in virtually 
every city in Marin County, a veritable test case
 for a predator coexistence movement that is 
gaining popularity throughout the Bay Area and
 much of Northern California.
Once rarely seen, coyotes are now prowling
 the foothills, trotting through people’s
 backyards, boldly stalking prey and raising
 puppies outside living room windows. It 
is a situation that Bay Area communities, 
including San Francisco, are confronting
 as they receive reports of sightings from 
excited, and in some cases fearful, residents.
Larkspur and adjacent Corte Madera, in 
the shadow of Mount Tamalpais, are the
 latest to go gaga over the yowling fur-
covered throngs.
“They hear the (emergency) sirens in 
the city and they say, ‘Oh, we can out-do 
that,’” Deignan said. “It just triggers them.”
The cacophony is little comfort to the 
owners of cats and small dogs that have
 been known to find themselves on coyote
 dinner menus. Many parents are also 
uneasy having the wild predators near 
their children.
In an attempt to ease tensions, Project 
Coyote, the Marin Humane Society and
 Marin County Parks are holding a
 community forum on the highly adaptive
 animals this month. The discussion will
 include tips on how to coexist with coyotes
 in general and the Larkspur family of 
eight in particular.
“They are seen a lot, giving people the
 impression the place is being overrun
 by coyotes when it is really just one family
 group,” said Camilla Fox, the executive 
director of Project Coyote, a national 
nonprofit group with headquarters in 
Larkspur. “Coyotes do not exceed the
 biological carrying capacity of an area, 
which is based on food and habitat 
Public meetings have been held 
recently in Berkeley, San Francisco, 
Walnut Creek and other communities
 in the Bay Area where coyote sightings
 and confrontations have increased 
dramatically over the past few years.
The numbers are growing, Fox said,
 because the animals are moving back 
into places where they were killed off 
decades ago.
There are as many as 700,000 coyotes 
in the state, according to the California
 Department of Fish and Wildlife, but 
nobody knows exactly how many are 
in the Bay Area. The crafty creatures 
crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in the 
early 2000s and have since been 
reported in neighborhoods and parks
 Ingleside Terrace, Bernal Heights, 
Golden Gate Park, Stern Grove, 
Lake Merced, Mount Davidson 
Experts believe that the drought so
 reduced the populations of the
primary prey of coyotes — mice, voles 
and rats — that they began looking for 
food in neighborhoods.
But the center of the song-dog 
expansion is Marin County. The
 carnivorous canines were ravaging
 sheep on west Marin ranches as far
 back as 1998. The practice back 
then was to kill them, but in 2000 
the county formed the Marin 
Program, which essentially used
the money once paid to federal
 trappers to help ranchers build 
fences, corrals and lambing
 sheds, and purchase guard dogs.
The guard dogs in Marin have 
reduced predation and, according 
to the sheep ranchers, saved an 
industry that was struggling 
mightily in the 1990s just to 
remain viable.
The program has since morphed
 into a push for coexistence in 
urban areas like Mill Valley,
Larkspur, Tiburon, San Rafael
 and Novato. Signs telling residents 
to “Be Coyote Aware” are popping
 up, and wildlife advocates like Fox
 are pushing hazing techniques 
and the necessity of keeping food 
and garbage away from the animals.
“Coexistence takes some education, 
which is what Project Coyote is trying 
o provide,” said Fox, who co-wrote the
 book “Coyotes in Our Midst.”
 “Unfortunately, the knee-jerk response
 in a lot of urban areas to the presence 
of coyotes is lethal removal, often because 
homeowners associations have hired
 pest management services that are
 required by state law to either release
 them on site or euthanize them.”
Fox said that killing coyotes can actually cause
 their populations to increase by disturbing the
 pack hierarchy and, in turn, allowing more 
coyotes to reproduce. In a pack, only the
alpha coyotes mate. When the alpha is 
killed, all the animals disperse and breed.

according to Wildlife Services charts.
The animals are opportunistic and, given a
 chance, will sometimes kill and eat small 
dogs and cats, but Fox said they generally
 want nothing to do with humans. In
 virtually every instance of aggressive
 behavior, she said, the coyotes had
 either been fed by humans or were 
defending their dens during spring 
pup-rearing season.
On average, 20 people a year are
 killed by family dogs, but there has 
only been one documented case of a 
coyote killing a human in the 
United States — the 1981 death of a
 3-year-old who was dragged away 
from her house in Los Angeles County. 
It turned out the family had been feeding 
The hillside neighborhood in Larkspur 
is getting along just fine with the 
four-legged family, which shares the 
hillside with a large group of
 uncommonly bold deer.
“This is the urban wildland interface,
 and they are a part of it,” Deignan said.
 “I think it’s great we can live in an area 
and all get along.

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