February 26, 2009

Hypothetical Wolves and Suburban Coyotes (2)

Part 1 is here.

Meanwhile, suburban coyotes are gobbling if not Labradoodles, Labrador retrievers. The news up there is full of coyote incidents:

"Broomfield Man Reports Coyote Bite."

"Greenwood Village Makes First Coyote Kill."

"Division of Wildlife Searching for Coyotes" that threatened a resident of suburban Broomfield.

"More Pet Deaths Linked to Coyotes."

"Animal-Rights Groups Oppose Greenwood Coyote Policy."

Denver residents are urged to "haze" coyotes. Sure, flip 'em the finger. Every coyote will know just what you mean.

No, coyotes are smarter than that. They seem to sense that an area with (a) no one shooting at them and (b) plentiful food opportunities is a good deal.

On the other hand, biologists tell me, if you shoot them, others--perhaps warier--move in, Nature abhorring a vacuum and all that.

Maybe coyotes who are not wary become more aggressive, testing their potential prey.

A note from our more rural setting: M. and I walk our two large dogs every night around 10 p.m. Sometimes we hear coyotes howling. Out on their walks, the dogs act as though nothing happened. "Coyotes? What coyotes?"

But once they are up on the gated porch, they bark and bay back at them.

UPDATE: In England, foxes are becoming desensitized to people and showing up in towns--and in St. Paul's Cathedral. Same issue?


Anonymous said...

Chas, we have coyotes, mountain lions, deer, elk and bears in town down here. Last night a lynx or bobcat was in the back yard.

People have to understand that we've encroached into wildlife areas and that the animals will come in.

Plus, take a good look at my dog Brandy. (latest post on the blog) She's a product of a mixed "marriage". Without her collar, you can't tell her from her cousins that howl in the night. She chatters just like them too.

Chas S. Clifton said...

It's not just that we have moved into their territory, but that we have created environments that these critters like -- golf courses for elk, for instance.

Those lions and coyotes like the house cats and dogs they find conveniently penned up or tied up.

Want to reduce the number of bears, coyotes, etc. in a town? Repeal the leash laws. Packs of roving dogs will scare off a lot of wild predators.

But would most people accept that trade-off?

Anonymous said...

You're right. We do create environments as well as invade them. I don't think that most would do the trade-off either. Oh well. Another thing that would help would be better trash service. If the food isn't available, the animals don't come in for it.

About 4.5 years ago, we had a mountain lion take a dog off of a chain from the house across the alley from us. Horrid scream, shredding sounds and no dog. Broken chain, large cat prints and a few drops of blood. That was the summer I wouldn't let the kids sleep in the back yard.