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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, May 29, 2011

Boston Residents are not unlike their Northern Rockies conterparts in their desire to see Wolf and Coyote populations severely reduced---Wrong of Eastern dwellers to condemn Westerners for intolerance and "cruelty" to Wolves, Cougars, Grizzly and Black Bears when Urban East Coasters are unable to deal with the smaller "SONGDOG".........The only difference between Western and Eastern attitudes is that in the more homogenous West(Ranching rules as a major employer and there are not many different ethinic groups comprising local rural Communitites), it seems that 95% of the folks hate all Carnivores and want them off the land...............In the more heterogenous East( multiple ethnic Groups living in the same town and as a rule, there is not just one major employer dictating your livelihood), there is a larger gourp of folks who do want to employ the proven LIVING SUCCESSFULLY WITH COYOTES techniques that groups like PROJECT COYOTE have shown to be effective in enabling Human Animals and Carnivores to coeexist........We need more of that coexistance with Eastern Coyotes so that we can push harder as a Nation for coexistance with Bears, Cougars and Wolves

Neighbors Respond to Coyotes in Brookline, Massachusetts 

Brookline residents are concerned about the presence of feral canines in urban areas.
By Grahame Turner patch


 Coyotes are not new to Brookline. But according to one resident, their increasing fearlessness of people is a fresh twist that is causing some to fear for the safety of pets and small children.

Allegra Loux, a mother who lives on Westbourne Terrace, says she has seen a notable shift in coyote activity in recent months. "It used to be, even when pulling in with the car, you'd see them and they'd just trot away immediately," says Loux, "but they don't do that anymore. They'll just like, stay, now. You'll be clapping and yelling and stuff, and they just kind of hang there like, 'what's up?'...hey're very accustomed to be there. They're turning into, like pigeons."Loux's home and backyard are currently under construction, and she has taken photos of coyote pawprints left in the mud after a rain.

"It's very frightening because I have little kids, says Loux. "People say [coyotes are] afraid of people; they're not afraid of people. Come check out the coyotes and then tell me they're afraid of [people]. It's easy for people to say that they read stuff, but when you're actually here, and the coyote is in front of you, and it's walking toward you, tell me the coyote is afraid of you."

Loux also recounts the story of her son coming home from a movie, and seeing a coyote in the yard. She says he is now afraid to enter the yard, and has her check the area before he will go out. It sounds a little like looking for a monster under the bed, "except this one's real," she says.

Loux isn't the only one concerned. "This thing comes under the heading of, 'are you kidding me?,'" comments Mark Castel of 322 Mason Terrace. "Coyotes have no place in an urban area, they are varmints that are hunted for sport in most locations. Coyotes can be dangerous to small pets and children and should be 'dispatched'."Castel has two chocolate labs who go into his yard through a dog door to chase coyotes away from his property.

But not everyone agrees that coyotes who live nearby should be 'dispatched.' A spirited discussion with views from both sides has been underway in the comment section of a Brookline Patch story published in January.

Coyotes are intelligent canines which are sometimes mistaken for German Shepherds or other large-breed dogs. The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) says that they are 'opportunistic feeders,' and will eat whatever is available: berries, garbage, rodents, and sometimes small pets.State Representative Frank Smizik of Brookline stressed that the coyote is a protected animal. In some parts of the state, there is a season in which coyotes can be hunted, but Brookline is not one of them.In fact, MassWildlife's website notes, "Coyotes are a legally protected furbearer and game animal. Therefore, there are statutory laws andregulations dictating how and when a coyote can be removed. A coyote may not be removed simply because of its presence in an area, there must be damage or a threat to human safety by a specific animal."

Brookline Town Meeting Member Evelyn Roll first became concerned about the presence of local coyotes after watching a "Nightline" report on coyote activity. The report aired on Feb 15; two days later she emailed her neighborhood."Although I have heard from the police and others that these animals will not harm humans, recent sightings of coyotes in our backyards, with a possible killing of a pet cat, have led me to look into the possibility of changing the present laws that state we cannot disturb the coyote, trap or kill them unless they are acting strangely," Roll's email said. Even further back, in an informal poll last year, Brookline Town Meeting Member John Bassett asked 150 members of the Brookline Neighborhood Alliance for reports of coyotes. In one week, he says there were 38 reports of sightings, 20 sightings in the three months preceding the poll, and seven reports of pets, six cats and a chicken, killed. He did not verify the reports, but all of the reporting neighbors were sure it was coyotes.

So coyotes are nothing new; they've become part of the urban landscape in Chicago and other major cities. Prior to living in Brookline, Bernadine Tsung-Megason lived in an urban part of Los Angeles where neighbors ran into coyotes from time to time."You would see posters these of missing cats, and right above it, coyote sightings in the neighborhood. So, what would happen is that when people started putting up signs, and people would bring their animals in[side]. The coyotes, I think they really do go to where their food source is, so they'd go to the next neighborhood," explained Tsung-Megason.

She did lose a pet cat to the coyotes. While living in LA, she participated in a foster cat program, taking in otherwise homeless cats temporarily. One of the cats she was caring for at the time broke a window screen, letting her own cat escape. Tsung-Megason, a mother and pet owner, now keeps foster dogs at her home on York Terrace.

Representative Smizik added, "If I had a child who wanted to go out in the backyard and play, I would be uncomfortable. It's a hard problem, and there is no easy solution."

The MassWildlife Web page on coyotes lists three different ways to handle coyote presence in your neighborhood:
  • Tolerance
  • Animal husbandry and fencing
  • Removal
The first two refer to methods of removing incentives or preventing coyotes from entering your yard. Physically moving the coyotes, on the other hand, is described as "illegal and ineffective."

The Web page does note that, "If you cannot tolerate a coyote living in your area, the only solution is to have it lethally removed."----that really is so subjective and basically states that anyone who wants a Coyote killed can have that accomplished--Blogger Rick

That is a solution which some neighbors are endorsing. Several of the concerned neighbors who spoke to Patch share a similar sentiment: something should be done before a coyote attack happens. Neighbors have expressed concern about coyote attacks, despite assertions from police that attacks are very rare.

According to a article about coyotes in cities, in the U.S. there have been only about 160 recorded attacks by coyotes on humans in the past 30 years. Compare that to 36 shark attacks in 2010 alone, according to the International Shark Attack File, or an estimated 4.5 million dog bites per year, nationwide according to an article on dog bite prevention from the Centers for Disease ControlMass Audabon Society also notes that there has only been a single human attacked on the East Coast, in 1998. 

That said, neighbors are still worried about the presence of these canines in their back yards.
"I would support removal before something bad happens to someone's pets or kids," commented Daniel Glazer of Mason Terrace."It's hard to explain until you've actually lived it." Loux agreed, "I want the coyotes gone. I want them to take them out. I want the coyotes removed, I don't care how they do it, but I would like them gone. I'd like let my to kids out, and not have to be checking for coyotes every second."

There are neighbors who oppose the lethal removal of coyotes. They say the lethal option should be a last resort, instead of a preventative measure."If you brought in all of your cats and dogs, and your children, and it didn't go away and it started getting aggressive, then of course you have to protect the neighborhood." Tsung-Megason explained, "I just think it's not productive to say 'I want to leave all of my animals outside, and I expect the coyote not to come into my yard.' You can't reason with it."

However, with the coyotes' protected status, there is a legal roadblock to any action being taken. 
Brookline Town Meeting Member Evelyn Roll also said, to Patch, "I would love to do something about it, but our hands are tied until they change the regulations."Regulations that could prove a challenging to change. State Rep. Smizik pointed out that over 6000 bills are written each year, but only a few hundred pass. He said it's also likely that there would be opposition to the bill.Said Smizik, "What can I do? I can write a law, [but] it would have to get passed. It doesn't solve the problem in the short-term."

He added that people should stay on the police, and Mass Department of Fish and Wildlife. Brookline has an Animal Control Officer, Pierre Verrier, whose can be reached at (617) 730-2730Track the movement of coyotes and contact Police as soon as someone spots aggressive behavior.

There are also a number of ways that you can try to co-exist with coyotes."It takes us doing what we can to fix our problems. It's easy enough, I think, to keep an eye on your children, keep an eye on the cats or small dogs. That's a simpler solution than trying to change the federal law or the state law–which might impact things that you don't want impacting," Tsung-Megason added.

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