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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, April 2, 2017

Like Journalist Eric Lacitis of the Seattle Times saids below, "I guess I should have an intense dislike for Coyotes",,,,," I don't"..........Both Eric and I lost a family pet to Coyotes(he a cat, me a dog) and both of us knew quite well that the Coyotes were just doing what Coyotes do, finding a meal(a wandering cat can become a meal) and keeping other canid competitors(dogs, foxes and other coyotes) out of their well guarded territories..............We both agree with my pen pal friend and best selling author Dan Flores(author of the 2016 book, “Coyote America") who states that----- "Coyotes act like they belong in our neighborhoods because they actually do" feel that"..............."They know America better than we do"........ "There are more in America than there ever have been".............”When in the 19th century we killed off wolves(and pumas) in the northeast and south, he says, coyotes moved in".............. "When dog catchers moved against feral dogs in cities, that left an opening for coyotes"................ "When we poisoned coyotes, they responded with larger litters of pups"..................."Coyotes basically “yawn” when they see a human"..............“The reason they don’t seem alarmed is that they’ve been living around humans for 15,000 years"...................."We keep trying to get rid of coyotes, with government wildlife agents literally killing them each year by the tens of thousands"................ The coyotes persist----and grow more numerous because of this persecution.....Learn to live with your resident coyotes...........Their numbers will stabilize

Coyotes become a fact of life in rural — and urban — areas around Seattle

View a Seattle Coyote taking a stroll down the street

In the battle for turf, coyotes have won. Whether you live in the country or city, they’re your neighbor. And you have to admire them. I’m pretty sure a coyote killed one of our cats a few months ago.As the weeks passed, I heard coyotes howling nearby, saw one in the headlights on the gravel road to our home in Vashon, and I kept seeing the posters on utility poles about missing cats.And so my family became among the many\ who’ve learned the hard way about coexisting with canis latrans.That’s “barking dog” in Latin, close enough to what I sometimes now hear at nights.

Coyotes have become our neighbors, whether we live in ruralized areas like Vashon or Bainbdridge Island, the suburbs such as Normandy Park or right in Seattle.And they’re not leaving. In the battlefor turf, they’ve won.Fae was a nice cat who loved exploring our three acres of mostly pasture, never venturing very far.I guess I should now have an intense dislike for coyotes. I don’t. (My wife feels quite differently, but she was born in Montana.)The thing is, the more you learn about coyotes, the more you have to admire them.

A Seattle Coyote, intelligent eyes, just like us

Navajo herders called them “God’s dog.” A Hispanic folk saying is that “the only thing smarter than a coyote is God.”Coyotes are native to North America. They used to be live mostly in the deserts and plains of the interior West. Now they live coast to coast, from above the Arctic Circle to Central America.Whether you live in a more rural place like Vashon, or in West Seattle, or the Eastside, or major cities like Los Angeles, New York or Chicago, or even near the White House, coyotes are around.

They’re the ultimate survivors, finding a meal in mice, rats, rabbits, snakes, grasshoppers and even berries, cherries, plums and those apples fallen in your backyard. Cats are a minimal part of their diet.

Seattle Coyote sharing the links with a golfer

For years, the West Seattle Blog has had a continuing series in which readers send in their sightings, sometimes accompanied by photos, of coyotes. It’s now at 191 postings. People report seeing coyotes at playfields, the West Seattle Golf Course, ambling down an alley, in their backyards.A typical posting is a photo of a coyote on a sidewalk near Hope Lutheran Church on 42nd Avenue Southwest.“No telling whether the coyote was trying to find its way to the market, church, or somewhere else, but yet another reminder that they live among us and they’re out in the daytime, too,” says the caption.

On a December afternoon in 2015, Dave Stockman managed to get a high-quality video with his cellphone at his ex-wife’s home near Schmitz Park in West Seattle, where their daughter lives half-time. Coyotes don’t exactly wait around to pose for that perfect image.“I look out the window and I think, ‘Whose stray dog is that? Wait a minute, that’s a coyote.’ He was so casual, like he belongs there,” says Stockman.At first glance, many people do mistake a coyote — which typically weighs in the 20- to 30-pound range(Western Coyotes--Eastern Coyotes can weigh up to 50 pounds) — for a small German shepherd dog. 

In the evolutionary tree, you can see branches from the gray wolf going right to the domestic dog and to the coyote. And if a coyote acts like he belongs in our neighborhoods, well, he actually does feel that, says Dan Flores, author of the 2016 book, “Coyote America.” He says, “They’ve been here for 5 million years. They know America better than we do. 

A Coyote in a Seattle Park

There are more in America than there ever have been.”When in the 19th century we killed off wolves in the northeast and south, he says, coyotes moved in. When dog catchers moved against feral dogs in cities, that left an opening for coyotes. When we poisoned coyotes, says Flores, they responded with larger litters of pups.Coyotes, he says, basically “yawn” when they see a human.“The reason they don’t seem alarmed is that they’ve been living around humans for 15,000 years,” says Flores.

In Chicago, they’ve been observed waiting at a street corner for the streetlight to change.“They know that’s when the traffic stops, and they’ll cross very casually across the road,” says Stan Gehrt, principal investigator at the Urban Coyote Research Program, which since 2000 has studied the animals in that city.

Seattle Coyote

Human interactions---I can’t prove for sure that a coyote killed Fae — I found no trace of her. That is often how it is in cases in which coyotes get blamed for missing pets. You hear coyotes; your pet goes missing. Guilty!Along with that is their presumed danger to humans.

According to the state(Washington), the only reported coyote-on-human attack here was in 2006, when a 1 1/2-year-old boy was bitten on the ear while he was playing under the supervision of his parents at Eastgate Elementary School, and later a 4-year-old boy was bitten on his buttocks while playing outside his Eastgate home.The coyote was shot by a state wildlife agent.There is no bag limit on hunting coyotes in this state, and they can be hunted year round. 

Seattle Coyote

However, areas such as King County have specific no-shooting zones.Karen Pruett, of Vashon, tells me about her two cats that disappeared a month apart this past summer, right around the time her family heard the howls.She worries “that my toddler grandchild might look like a tasty snack.” She says about one of her missing cats, “I don’t care that he ‘lived a long and happy life,’ he was an awesome cat and didn’t deserve to be a meal.”Pruett is moderate in her feelings about coyotes. She’d like to see them trapped and relocated. In this state it’s unlawful to transport wildlife without a permit.

Other reactions to coyotes are considerably extreme.“Help me kill coyotes in W. Washington,” is one posting you can find online. “I live about 20 miles outside Seattle and the coyotes are really getting around. They ate my favorite cat recently and are howling all over the place … I would like to reduce their population. Should I call them in with a distress recording and shoot them, or use traps. If I use a trap, how do I avoid getting a pet dog?” Replies included, "223 Remington works well for me"

Seattle Coyote taking it easy

We keep trying to get rid of coyotes, with government wildlife agents literally killing them each year by the tens of thousands. The coyotes persist.Wildlife biologists regularly get called out to talk with neighborhood groups worried about coyotes.Their message invariably comes down to what you candownload from the state’s Department of Fish & Wildlife, mostly a list of the obvious:

Don’t feed coyotes. Don’t leave garbage cans so they can be opened. Don’t leave pet food outdoors. Keep your cats and dogs indoors, especially after dark, when coyotes prefer to hunt.Wildlife Services here gets called out to deal with coyotes that have lost their natural fear of humans and become aggressive in neighborhoods.

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