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Coping with Coyotes

I read a nice article on coyote populations and the human impact on trying to control them.

Whether you love them or hate them, understanding our effects is vital to resolving any conflicts. Here's an excerpt of the original article along with a link to read the full story.

Human-Caused Coyote Populations

Mortality is high among coyote pups born in the spring: 50 to 75 percent do not survive until the fall dispersal season. When coyote numbers continue to grow despite such high natural mortality, we must look at the impact of human actions. We will see that through evolutionary trial and error, social structure and biology determine reproductive rates and mortality but when we remove the structural controls by killing one or both of the breeding pair, more coyotes may reproduce more frequently, resulting in more coyotes in the territory than can be supported.

In short, the indiscriminate killing of coyotes interrupts the natural checks and balances of the coyote social system with resulting impacts on the ecosystem, often resulting in more, rather than fewer, coyotes. This is further complicated by the fact that inexperienced sub-adult coyotes quickly become parents and may end up seeking unwise food sources for their young such as livestock or domestic pets. It is easy to see that this cycle may become self-perpetuating: coyotes become unwitting problems for humans; they are then further targeted; social structures break down more, which results in more coyotes and more problems, etc.

Coexistence with coyotes can be tricky. It requires rethinking our place in the ecosystem. To date, people have too quickly decided that we must manage the system by killing predators, despite having very little understanding of how evolution has put checks and balances in place. We have, in fact, made problems worse for ourselves, for coyotes, other predators, and their prey by our lethal approach. We believe the key is to better understand and work with coyote biology and ecosystems, and to recognize that humans are not separate from nature — we are part of it, and every one of our actions can send an unpredictable ripple through the ecosystem. Once we understand that a specific action may end in wider destruction, as with the indiscriminate killing of coyotes, should we not act to avoid that destruction? Science has shown that coyotes are here to stay and allowing them to establish stable packs supports a functional ecosystem that reduces the risk of negative encounters with people, pets, and livestock. Moreover, such an approach is our only option for achieving a sustainable and peaceful future.

This article excerpt was taken from COYOTE ECOLOGY: THE RITES (AND WRONGS) OF SPRING & EARLY SUMMER on Please click the below link to read the full article by the author Chris Schadler .

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