Throughout much of Ontario there are emails, texts and news reports of coyotes causing woes to humans. But what’s hard to keep in mind – and get into the messaging – is that it’s actually humans causing woes for coyotes.
There are typically two types of incidents that draw attention to coyotes – the loss of a pet and the loss of livestock.
As pet owners and animal lovers, we can empathize with those who have lost a pet. There are no words we can offer to heal heartbreak. But we can help prevent loss in the future. And many of the principles that come into play for preventing conflict between coyotes and pets are relevant in preventing conflict between coyotes and livestock.
It’s important to know what wildlife lives in your neighbourhood. The mere presence of coyotes is not a reason to be concerned; but you can be better prepared to take steps to ensure safe co-existence by knowing they’re around.
Food attractants are almost always at the core of conflict situations investigated by APFA, the Stanley Park Ecology Society and Coyote Watch Canada. Whether it’s intentionally feeding of wildlife and coyotes or unintentionally by feeding pets outside, leaving compost or fallen fruit on the property and so on, coyote learn where a reliable food source is. By removing these attractants you remove the interest of coyotes, raccoons and other scavengers.
Some farmers will leave their deceased or butchered animals in a corner of their property. This is a beacon to every scavenger in the area – birds of prey, coyotes and foxes, raccoons, rats, and others. This not only attracts coyotes and other animals, but can lead to conflict as they want to protect their find. Properly disposing of organic waste is vital in a healthy ecosystem – both for reducing conflict and for general environmental stewardship.
Just like our dogs, we need to teach coyotes good manners – particularly if their packs have been disrupted or broken by hunting and trapping. Hazing techniques like the ‘Go Away Coyote’ method or shake can method seen in our videos and other methods taught by groups like Coyote Watch Canada can be excellent in preventing conflict.
Like any negative situation, a peaceful resolution can be found – if the correct information is provided. We highly recommend viewing our Living With Wildlife Coyotes page or checking with Stanley Park Ecology Society or Coyote Watch Canada for free information.
Coyotes play an important role in our ecosystems. They are sentient, beautiful animals that deserve respect and protection. And as is so often the case, it is human interference that leads to conflict. We can live together with coyotes and other wildlife without fear – if we make the effort.