Excellent story in the Portland Oregonian today, "Coping with neighborhood coyotes." It makes the same points that my wife and I have shared with some coyote-hating neighbors of ours recently.
(Since the Oregonian eventually archives its online stories, I scanned the piece by Jacques Von Lunen so it will be permanently available.)
Download Oregonian coyote story 4-28-09
Coyotes are part of nature's balance. Von Lunen says they weren't in western Oregon until wolves were eradicated and clear-cutting of forests enabled them to cross the Cascades.
Laurel and I wish we had more of them here in semi-rural south Salem. Ground squirrels are a problem for us. Coyotes aren't. As the story says:
Urban legends about coyotes abound. We've heard neighbors say, "I'm worried they'll kill a small child."
Actually, points out Von Lunen, there's only one recorded case of a coyote killing a human in U.S. history. And that was after a family continuously fed a coyote, causing it to be unafraid of humans. It then attacked a 3-year old child.
Don't leave food out for coyotes, and they are much less likely to come around. This is rule #1 for dealing with them.
Another rule is: don't kill them. This just leads to more coyotes.
Being animal lovers, we can understand why people worry about their pet cats and small dogs in coyote territory. But keeping cats indoors (especially at night) and not letting your chihuahua roam on its own will go a long way toward keeping pets safe.
Our coyote-hating neighbors are fond of feral cats, feeding and taking care of them. That's nice. But feral cats aren't part of the natural Oregon ecosystem, whereas coyotes are.
Cats decimate the wild songbird population, as evidenced by how much they hang around our bird feeders. Coyotes control rodent pests.
Give me a coyote over a feral cat anytime. The Oregonian story concludes with:
"Give me a coyote over a feral cat anytime." here here
Posted by: Bpaul | April 28, 2009 at 10:16 PM
If Oregon gets wolves back, the coyote population will be back in line with what it was originally. In Yellowstone it has changed the balance and our last trip there we saw a coyote come running right toward the parked and watching tourists while nervously looking over its shoulder. The wolves kill them as a competitor as canines all have a natural way of doing.
Wolves have migrated into the NE corner of Oregon now although their killing of so many lambs there may end their venture around Baker City. They are more like dogs in their way of killing as many as they can reach instead of just one and eating it-- not popular with ranchers. They also don't kill clean like a coyote as being a bigger animal, they can just put the animal down and eat it while still alive. Coyote doesn't have that option.
Wolves also have rarely been proven to be dangerous to humans although treating any wild animal like a 'how cute' is more the sign of someone naive than experienced. I have mixed feelings about wolves ending up in say my valley where I know they could kill a calf if they wanted, even a cow with enough of them. The other side of the coin is that wonderful sound at night as they sing to the wind. I enjoy the coyotes the same way right up until they kill one of the lambs. To me, coyotes have the most creative possible combination of sounds.
On our last trip through Death Valley, giving me a couple of great photos, a coyote came running right up the road, very hungry looking and only one thing kept it from getting the cookie it clearly wanted-- the entrance permit had the picture of a hand holding out food and a coyote with a big don't symbol running through it. Even then I'd have been tempted. They are soooooooo cute but yes, I know it's not healthy for them to get them used to people providing easier pickings than rabbits.
Posted by: Rain | April 29, 2009 at 07:27 AM
Posted by: Elizabeth | March 02, 2010 at 07:06 PM