Coyotes are a natural part of our landscape. Though many may think they’re new arrivals in a community, coyotes have lived in Ontario for well over 100 years. At times of seasonal change, or when development occurs, they may become more visible as they travel around their habitat.
Coyote Watch Canada and The Fur-Bearers want residents to be aware that the presence of coyotes in a community is not something to fear, and address four things people should know about the adaptable, social canids:
- Feeding them creates problems. In nearly every case of conflict involving coyotes investigated, attractants play a significant role. Whether it’s intentionally feeding them, or allowing attractants such as fallen fruits, outdoor dog food, or overflowing bird feeders to remain, this brings in all types of wildlife – and can create conflict. Cleaning up attractants and ending intentional or unintentional feeding can keep the coyotes safe, and end many worries from residents.
- They’re often curious, but not 'bold.'Common coyote behaviour gets mistaken for boldness regularly. Coyotes will stand and watch the world around them, and may not run away immediately if yelled at or briefly chased. This is not aggression, but simple curiosity. Additionally, coyotes who follow or show assertive behaviour to dogs and dog walkers are often being defensive, not aggressive. Den sites, pups, and food resources may be nearby, but out of sight. It’s also common for coyote families to be seen together, as a group, during the day.
- Domestic dogs need to be handled responsibly. Off-leash dogs in areas where wildlife lives can create significant stress on many species. One study found that 92.3% of dogs involved in coyote conflicts were off-leash. Please be aware of local leash by-laws and help keep all the animals in our communities safe.
- We can co-exist with coyotes. Having coyotes in the community is good – they provide multiple ecological benefits like rodent control, and would rather not interact with people. Instituting education and enforcement of by-laws regarding feeding, in addition to having experienced individuals properly investigating any conflict, can mean a happy, safe community for everyone.
Coyote Watch Canada and The Fur-Bearers are also pleased to provide educational information or assistance for homeowners regarding wildlife, and have much information on their websites at coyotewatchcanada.com and thefurbearers.com.
A healthy ecosystem is beneficial to everyone – including humans and our pets. By educating ourselves and our families, we can keep our local ecosystems healthy, and keep safe the animals who call them home.Tune into Episode 418 of Defender Radioto learn more about conflict investigations and how else we can keep our pets safe.