Coyotes have adapted to humans---it's our turn to adapt to them
As the days finally
grow warmer around the Puget Sound, urban wildlife activity increases
and so do wildlife sightings around our neighborhoods. Coyotes, in
particular, have gotten recent bad press for missing pets---although
cars, diseases and cruel people are just as likely to be the culprits. For
wily wildlife such as coyotes, the most effective way to protect
people, pets and wildlife is to make simple adjustments to your own
behavior and to educate your neighbors to do the same:
- Remove the free meal:
- Keep garbage and compost piles in tamper-proof, secured containers.
- Pick up any veggies and fruit that fall to the ground.
- Feed your pets inside---if you must feed an animal outside, pick the food up immediately after and clean the area.
birdfeeders, clean up the fallen seed underneath daily---coyotes are
attracted to the bird food and the many birds and rodents that visit
- Keep your animals safely confined:
small animals and felines should be kept safe indoors or supervised
when outside, especially from dusk to dawn when coyote activity is
- Livestock (such as chickens or sheep)
should be kept in pens with well-fitted doors and secure locking
mechanisms. Unsecured chickens or small livestock can fall victim to
many animals from owls, foxes and skunks, to feral cats.
- Don't leave small children or animals unattended:
If a coyote ever approaches, pick up small children or pets and don't
run. Try to look and sound as large, loud and mean as possible. As with
any safety procedure, it's always a good idea to practice.
As urbanization rapidly continues in
our state, some wild animals have learned to thrive in the shadow of
humans. Those unable to find natural den sites and food sources because
of human encroachment have learned that crawlspaces and attics, garbage
and free-roaming pets make suitable substitutes.
A voter-approved initiative in 2000,
banning the use of cruel body-crushing traps for commerce and
recreation, has some believing the coyote population is going
unchecked. Yet wildlife experts disagree. Bob Everitt, Region 4
Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife was quoted
in the June 22 Seattle PI article titled, Wildlife grows bolder in urban habitat
saying, "In the city, the trapping ban would have no effect. There's no
effective way of trapping coyotes without endangering other pets." In
the same article, John Shivik, a researcher for the Department of
Agriculture states, "It's not possible to get rid of them altogether
because they are really resilient."
Coyotes have adapted to humans
because of the environment we have created around them---it's now our
turn to show how flexible we can be by adapting to them.
Want more ideas on co-existing with coyotes?
Thank you for your actions to co-exist peacefully with our wild neighbors!
Northwest leader in protecting animals since 1967, the Progressive
Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) shelters homeless animals, rehabilitates
injured and orphaned wildlife, and empowers people to demonstrate
compassion and respect for animals in their daily lives.
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PAWS, P.O. Box 1037, Lynnwood, WA 98046