CFN– It seems that 2012 will go down as the Year of the Varmint for the Bob Kilger government in Cornwall Ontario.
Geese, Beavers, Pigeons and now Coyotes have stirred council and the public.
Lesley Fox wrote the following letter to the government of Cornwall after the city decided to start trapping Wiley’s local cousins.
Dear Mayor Kilger and Councillors of Cornwall,
It has come to our attention that council has approved the use of lethal traps to kill coyotes living in Eamers Corners and is currently waiting on approval from the Ministry of Natural Resources. Please know we are in the process of contacting the Ministry, encouraging them to deny Cornwall a permit.
Your desire to trap and kill coyotes comes to us as a complete shock as just this past summer our organization worked with your community to end 25 years of lethal trapping in Guidon Park by installing flow devices to manage beaver activity. This project came at NO EXPENSE to Cornwall, it was funded completely by us. We are truly disappointed that after such a positive experience with the city of Cornwall, that council would simply turn around and approve the use of trapping for another fur-bearing animal. Has the city not learned anything from all the work we did to co-exist with the beavers?
Not only is the killing of coyotes completely unnecessary and reckless, it brings cruel and dangerous traps closer than ever to residents and their pets. I can assure you that leg-hold, Conibear and snare traps are much more dangerous to local pets and children than coyotes. I encourage you to see for yourself how many dogs/cats were killed from “trapping accidents” in Canada this year alone – http://www.furbearerdefenders.
com/campaigns/trapping?id=115 If you would like, I can put you directly in touch with several pet owners who lost their animals because of lethal trapping.
Non-lethal alternatives work
Rather than supporting the killing of coyotes, we encourage Cornwall to adopt an education program for residents modeled after other cities who peacefully co-exist with urban coyotes including Vancouver.
We also encourage local residents to use hazing techniques. This includes activities that humanely make coyotes more afraid of people, recharging their natural fear. (ie. bang pots and pans, throw balls, spray coyotes with a garden hose, wave arms and act aggressively.) Coyote hazing changes coyote behavior.
To support council, our organization will partner with Canada’s leading coyote field expert, Lesley Sampson of Coyote Watch Canada and will help you create programs to address the concerns that residents have over coyotes. Killing is not the answer. Unless council works to control and eliminate the direct/indirect feeding of coyotes, you will always have a problem. After you kill these coyotes, more animals will simply return to the area and the cycle of violence and killing will continue – all the while you’ll be wasting local tax dollars.
In an effort to preserve our local environment and to protect citizens from the inherent dangerous of lethal trapping, will council work with us to first try non-lethal options?
I look forward to your reply.
The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals
179 W. Broadway
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I asked Ms Fox a few questions today after receiving her letter.
What triggered your reaction?
Since 1944, The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals has been exposing trapping cruelty. Lethal traps, whether used for beavers or other animals like coyotes, cause intense suffering. Animals will break teeth and bones trying to escape. Coyotes in particular are capable of ‘wringing-off’ their own limbs to escape. Trapping is cruel, unnecessary and does nothing to address issues related to urban wildlife. Like it or not, coyotes are hear to stay, and the citizens of Cornwall are going to have to deal with their presence.
Aren’t coyotes different than beavers?
Beavers, coyotes, bears, lynx, cats and dogs – all animals suffer and die just the same. Furthermore, traps are dangerous. Period. No matter where they are set, traps are indiscriminate nasty devices that have the potential to kill anything that hits the trigger. Birds, dogs, cats, pets – even children and endangered species – have been caught in traps intended for some other animal. With so many available alternatives, council has so many other choices and needs to make an effort to co-exist with wildlife. Unless we get to the root of the problem ie. “what is bringing coyotes in close contact with people” Cornwall will always going to have a problem. It’s my guess that coyotes living in Eamers Corners are being fed, whether directly or indirectly. If you can control and eliminate this food source, coyotes will relocate themselves naturally. Traps such as legholds, Conibears and snares by the way is FAR more dangerous than the coyotes themselves. Council has choices and this desire to kill every living being – whether beavers or coyotes – has got to stop. Cornwall council needs an attitude adjustment and some education in how to co-exist with wildlife.
Why does government favour trapping?
The Ministry of Natural Resources (on their website) actually states that trapping should be a LAST RESORT. Our organization, along with Coyote Watch Canada, are prepared to offer help and expertise (once again) to Cornwall. The fact that municipalities are so quick to trap and kill wildlife is because they don’t understand these animals, their biology or behavior. Calling up a trapper is a short-term lazy way to appease people who are outraged over the seeing coyotes in their neighborhood But this is the wrong approach. We need our government to show tolerance and patience and promote the idea of living with wildlife. Also, while we are sympathetic to any pet owner who has lost their friend to a coyote (which can happen) killing coyotes does nothing to solve the problem. There are several studies that show without a doubt that trapping and killing coyotes does not reduce their population or eliminate their presence. More animals simply return to the area to fill in the open niche. Rather than wasting tax dollars trying to kill anything that moves, residents in Cornwall can change their behavior and how they react when they see animals like coyotes in their neighborhood Coyotes are naturally shy animals who scare easily. They exist in almost every city across Canada and adapt quite well to urban environments. We need to learn to live with them.
Well world; what do you think? Should the Coyotes get the chop and is Cornwall doing right by trapping or should they get a reprieve?
You can post your comments below.