Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Peaceful co-existence with Coyotes, is it possible?
CFN – Yes…not only possible; it is easily doable. We have heard quite a bit about Coyote sightings recently in Eastern Ontario which can incite fear in some as they are completely unaware of the personality and habits of this elusive animal and can get caught up in the false rhetoric of neighbours and perhaps a false picture painted by media.
Through conversation with Lesley Sampson, Co-founder of Coyote Watch Canada (founded 2008), it has become clear that we may inadvertently be putting out the welcome mat for the Coyote (and other creatures) to visit, with the steps that we are, or are not taking. It is best to never feed or approach a wild animal as this makes the animal less fearful of humans and habituates them to food provided by humans. Sometimes we do this without knowing.
Do you regularly put out bird feeders? Are your dog’s feces regularly left in the back yard? If there is a dead animal on or near your property, do you call the appropriate authorities to insure the animal is removed in short order? Do you leave food outside for your pets or feral animals in the neighbourhood? These are a few things that can encourage area coyotes to visit.
I have experienced firsthand how a suet cake hung out for the benefit of birds has attracted the nose of a dog making it necessary for me to hang the item out of reach of his inquisitive nose. It is therefore not farfetched to assume this food put out for the benefit of my area’s bird population could be seen as inviting to area coyotes. Feces are attractive to smaller rodents such as mice and squirrels which are indeed an attractive meal for a coyote. It would therefore be prudent to keep an eye out for signs such as tracks or tufts of fur indicating that your bird feeders are attracting other species besides the birds as intended. Lesley would ask you to keep in mind that feeding wild animals such as birds “dulls their senses” in that they begin to ignore the inherent dangers that surround them on a daily basis which can result in their early demise.
I have personally found deer limb parts, obviously sawn off of the main body in wetland areas near my home in South Glengarry and in a refuse bag thrown in a ditch in a residential area close to the north eastern boundary of Cornwall, Ontario. Both these areas close to working farms. It seems that hunters are on occasion unknowingly contributing to luring coyote to our farms and residential areas with such deeds.
Coyote Watch Canada (CWC) is prepared to visit Cornwall, to dispel some of the commonly held myths about this animal and to share vital and relevant information on how and why it is possible to co-flourish with our coyote population. Such a meeting would be beneficial and will be open to home owners, farmers, hunters, city officials, teachers, students…well everyone. Topics such as “predator friendly farming techniques” and “safe living alongside coyote” would be discussed. For more information about the Eastern Coyote, we invite you to visit http://www.coyotewatchcanada.com This is a valuable resource for everyone including parents, educators, farmers and you.
This subject resonates with the words of Chief Seattle, “all things are connected, whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth”. With these words and “In the spirit of preservation”, ours and all the other habitats and creatures that we share this earth with, Sampson asks that we “walk with a compassionate heart and mind”. Your commentary is always welcome and encouraged below or to firstname.lastname@example.org