Many of my neighbours and I take issue with your recent article (“Coyote encounters concern residents”) as it perpetuates the myth that learning to co-exist with urban wildlife is a reality that we must face, even if that wildlife attacks or kills our pets. In fact, we should not accept the presence of habituated dangerous predators in our backyards.
By speaking of coyotes in general, your article ignores the seriousness of the local situation, and relies upon information supplied by agenda-driven agencies that are not interested in protecting our neighbourhood.
For example, the Toronto Humane Society tells us that “removal of coyotes is expensive and ineffective” so we shouldn’t do it. Using this logic we should not remove criminals from our neighbourhood either, as they will be replaced by other criminals shortly thereafter. In fact, it is widely accepted policy and practice amongst wildlife managers that dangerous habituated animals must be removed from proximity to people.
The Toronto Wildlife Centre is also used as a resource in the article. This is an organization that releases coyotes into our city after treatment.
In our neighbourhood we are continually threatened by large carnivores roaming at will, supplementing their diets with our pet cats and dogs, and surviving (according to Toronto Animal Services staff) on handouts from members of our community who think it wise to feed these predators. Unfortunately, such feeding causes coyotes to lose their fear of humans, and to expand their habitat into our yards, and then kill our pet dogs and cats. When our dog was killed, we grieved. Now more neighbours are grieving and more will follow unless action is finally taken.
Your cartoon showing a one-ton weight dropped on the coyote(s) lightheartedly and accurately sums up the solution. According to current wildlife management practices, the solution to the problem of urban habituated coyotes that have lost their fear of humans and which attack and kill pets is euthanization.
That action prevents the potential next stage of behaviour; attacks on humans. Other jurisdictions in North America that have nuisance or habituated coyotes have seen attacks on humans follow the pet-killing stage.
Are we going to wait until someone is bitten to take action? I sincerely hope not and suggest that we demand our public servants do their jobs to help protect our pets and us.
Calling the mayor may drive a solution. Contacting our councillor’s office or Toronto Animal Services hasn’t worked. Hiring the right trapper certainly will.