Sunday, March 11, 2007

Are Coyotes Too Close - Or Are We?

This article “Coyotes Too Close” 3/09/07 by WHEC-TV—Rochester, NY is representative of a badly constructed article by the major media in our area about environmental issues in the Rochester area. Foremost, it assumes that coyotes are bad, which only continues the irrational discussion (and thus policy) on the role of the coyote in our area. No other North American animal has more misinformation perpetuated about it than the Eastern Coyote. Just the sight of a coyote gives most people an adrenalin rush that makes them think they have to 'do something' about the presence of this animal.

There is no mention in this article of efforts by many groups who are trying to educate the public on the larger role of these top predators in our area’s environment (now that we’ve killed off the wolf, the puma, and most of the bears). This article only increases the mindless hostility towards any animal that annoys some people and helps foster regional animal killings like the yearly coyote killing contest in Honeoye and the Auburn crow kills.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation itself admits that it needs to investigate the role that the Eastern Coyote now plays in an area without other major predators. But that is going to be difficult if a thoughtful inquiry is set against a background of prejudice, misinformation, and hideous retaliations for differing views on the worth of another creature.

Here are some things that we have learned about the Easter Coyotes from the experts.
1. They do not carry or transmit rabies
2. They do not attack humans.
3. They do not affect the deer populations, because they do not hunt in packs and because of their size they are incapable of bringing down a healthy adult deer.

Wouldn’t it be more helpful if this article suggested that the Department of Environmental Conservation actually did a study of the Eastern Coyote in New York State? This would allow the public to make an informed decision about the best policy towards these animals, which are obviously filling a top predator niche that has been vacated by other animals we have slaughtered? This is vital because we do not need any more animal killing contests, which are revolting and actually (because of coyote behavior) stimulate coyote populations to increase. We need to know exactly how coyotes are affecting other animals (and thus plants) populations in New York State because they are now one of our top predators, which play a vital role in determining the wholesale scope of our local ecology.

I’ve recently learned from an expert that there is a symbiotic relationship developing between our area’s coyotes and vultures, where coyotes notice the vultures circling overhead, and chomp up the dead bones so the vultures, which have not the strength, can digest bone fragments. This interesting development and others are the kinds of information we might learn if our media and our official environmental bodies adopted investigations, instead of allowing public hysteria to reign and killing contests to prevail.

To learn more about what experts have already learned about coyotes and what more could be gained from serious study of the Eastern Coyote, please check out these web sites:
1. Living With the Wiley Coyote - E-Files - Sierra Club The Navajo call the coyote "God's dog" and, in some ways, this member of the dog family does seem to enjoy divine benefaction. While virtually every other North American predator has seen its numbers decline, the coyote has managed to increase both its range and numbers during the past century -- despite a long history of trapping, poisoning, and hunting by humans.
2. The Coyote in New York State - From the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry... The coyote has been present in New York state for about 85 years. As with its western cousin, the eastern coyote has been the object of much controversy as well as curiosity.
3. The Coyote in New York The Eastern Coyote - at a glance Description: The Eastern coyote looks like a medium-sized German shepherd dog, with long thick fur. The tail is full and bushy, usually carried pointing down. Ears are erect and pointed. Length:4 to 5 feet (including tail) Weight: 35 to 45 pounds (males usually larger than females.) Color:Variable, from blonde or reddish blonde to dark tan washed with black. Legs, ears and cheeks usually reddish.
4. Fox Wood Wildlife Rescue, Inc --- Fox Wood Wildlife Rescue is a Wildlife Rehabilitation facility, Education Center and Sanctuary located in East Concord, NY.
5. The Humane Society of the United States The human-animal bond is as old as human history. We cherish our animal companions for their unconditional affection and acceptance. We feel a thrill when we glimpse wild creatures in their natural habitat or in our own backyard. Unfortunately, the human-animal bond has at times been weakened. Humans have exploited some animal species to the point of extinction.


Anonymous said...

They eat fawns and cats.

Last fall I found fawn tracks, then coyote tracks in the fawn tracks, and a little while later... it could have been unrelated of course... a fawn's leg bone.

rich nedwidek said...

This morning I saw a coyote crossing Jefferson road Ito RIT property. It stood about two feet tall and was a ornges color. This is the second one I've seen on the last year in the area. What a beautiful animal. What a shame people see them as dangerous. They are not that way at all.
Rich Nedwidek