Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Is Trapping the Only Option for Coyotes in Cornwall Ontario?

EarthMattersTitle3157_12_1_12CFN – It was recently noted in local media reports that Cornwall City Council is on side with the recommendation from City Administration “to retain a trapper to exert lethal action control over the apparently increasing coyote population in the City’s north end”.

Evidently there have been sightings of coyotes within city limits and the city is seeking Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources approval to kill these animals to calm the population’s fear of possible dangerous wildlife/resident interaction.  Let’s be clear…there haven’t been any dangerous interactions that have taken place, all this is being planned “just in case”.  This is not being written to slap the hand of well-intentioned City Staff and Officials who are addressing the complaints and needs of their community, I do however believe these animals are also “our community” and require the same careful consideration.

I think a little background information is perhaps warranted here. As reported in previous columns here, the countryside surrounding Cornwall has undergone and continues to undergo a MAJOR culling of its own. Forests are being clear-cut and adding further injury to this major habitat loss is many farmers in the area are clear cutting their hedgerows. Hedgerows are the rows of bush, trees and tall grasses between fields of corn and soy that are respectfully left for local wildlife to forage, seek cover and live. This loss of habitat has surely forced many animals to move on to other locations to find suitable environments to sustain their lives. From our local wildlife point of view I’m certain they are doing their best to avoid all two legged creatures which have certainly stripped them of their homes and undoubtedly been responsible for many intentional deaths in their community.


Doesn’t it stand to reason that we are bound to see more sightings of rural animals in the city than we wouldn’t normally see because of their habitat loss? Because these animals are being displaced because of our actions, couldn’t we give them the benefit of time to find a new home?


I hear there are many farmers who are very concerned about the goose populations on their properties. Couldn’t the coyotes naturally help the farmers keep some of this bird population in check?  A story out of Toronto some time ago made reference to some citizens’ concerns about the coyote population in High Park. A councillor at the time Kris Korwin-Kuczynski reported that it was found that the coyotes were benefiting the area residents by feeding on the park geese, which reduced complaints of goose dropping in the park.


According to suburban coyotes can be drawn to backyards by outdoor feeding of pets such as cats, dogs, rabbits and squirrels. Eliminating such sources of food will force them to move on. This site also notes that it is often a waste of resources to take a blanket approach to killing coyotes as one might find a coyote or a pair that may feed on livestock or pets however such actions on the part of coyotes would be akin to “Bonnie and Clyde” outlaws which are not representative of the species.


On another level, what kind of lesson are we teaching our children with such actions? Perhaps this is the perfect time to give careful consideration to the golden rule? In all cultures and religions the rule demands that people treat others in a manner in which they themselves would like to be treated. Put yourself in the coyote’s paws.


Your commentary is encouraged and always welcome below or to


  1. A very thoughtful piece, however if it were my pet in the backyard or god forbid one of my children attacked I would certainly want to hold someone responsible. No such incidences have occured yet, but a plan must be in place to assure the safety of the citizens. Suggestions on alternatives is always a better way to analyse the situaltion so I would press everyone to submit their ideas on how to handle this growing problem not only with respect of this specific situation but also other wildlife that will surely become a problem by our growing expansion into wildlife habitats.
    Just my thought

  2. @Shari…thank you for taking the time to share your perspective, greatly appreciated. I guess the point I am trying to make is that WE are part of the problem. Doesn’t all life have the right to grow and prosper? Isn’t it wise to give consideration to the lives and habitats that we alter in our race to expand or in our efforts for $$$’s. Personally I would like to see plans and projects in place to secure the safety of everyone and everything…not just the citizens. Whether we realize it or not, in my humble opinion, the health and welfare of all is essentially tied to our very own wellbeing.

  3. Why do wild animals have to die if they God forbid, mistake a pet for prey???
    And what is this “What if it’s a child next?”
    Children are bitten by domestic dogs a hell of alot larger than coyotes every minute of every day!! Should we cull all dogs period?
    People, if you live in the vicinity of wildlife, be careful. When did it become easier to kill than use a little common sense??

  4. As with a growing polar bear population when the population growth of a particular species exceeds the capacity of its traditional environment then the species must in order to survive extend those traditional boundaries and migrate in search of a supportive habitat. Unlike domestic animals ( dogs in particular ) coyotes I believe do not have much in the way of a history of disturbing or interfering with humans. Coyotes have a fierce survival mode and it is my understanding that a culling only ultimately ends up with the species having a population spike. Co existence would seem to be the best road to travel if you subscribe to the natural order of things. So caution and common sense should be the order of the day.

  5. Hi,
    I own some property not far from an apartment building
    in the east end of cornwall. Lots of domestic dogs visit
    my front lawn, but I have never seen any coyotes.

  6. Maybe they were in sheep’s clothing !

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