Living next to the County Park, or next to state and national forest lands, as many do, is to live with the wildlife of our mountain. When a pack of coyotes is heard in the night, crying in group frenzy, it is a fearsome sound, which we need to respect and bring our pets indoors.
We recently heard that a camp in town has been exterminating coyotes. Last month was eerily quiet. It is a horrifying thought. We choose to live up here immersed in nature. The coyotes are part of the balance needed, keeping the rodents in check, surprising us with their appearances, and howling in their groups at night.
Another question, assuming the coyotes were exterminated as a pest, is how they were killed. Is there poison in the forest waiting for a stray dog to consume? Or were they shot like innocent prisoners?
The killing of the coyote family is not illegal, as they are not an endangered species. It is simply ethically wrong.
There are many resources on the web about the coexistence of humans and coyotes.
On the Humane Society’s website (www.humanesociety.org/animals/coyotes/tips/solving_problems.html) in the section titled “Techniques for Resolving Coyote Conflicts,” it is pointed out that “most coyote problems are caused by people feeding coyotes.” Feeding wild animals is not good for them and can lead the creature to become a nuisance. The attractants need to be removed (such as pet food, garbage, etc.) Visitors and residents need to learn not feed the coyotes.
The more humane way to reduce undesirable behavior in coyotes is to frighten them away with hazing. Described in another excerpt from the Humane Society page: “Hazing is an activity or series of activities conducted to reinstill the natural fear of humans back into coyotes. It is often as simple as making yourself loud (by yelling or using homemade noisemakers) and large (by standing tall and waving your arms).”
We live in the mountains by choice. Do we need laws for everything or can people make the right choices for the good of all, respecting our local environment?
Mallory Cremin, Jayne Davis,