If you never left the downtown corridors of Toronto, and weren’t too aware of what was happening outside that core, it very well may seem like wildlife is “encroaching on Toronto’s urban spaces.”
But assuming you did take a wider view of the world, you’d see massive upheaval in the wild areas surrounding Toronto, and recognize that quite the opposite is true: that Toronto’s urban spaces are encroaching on the wild.
For Globe and Mail columnist Marcus Gee, however, that wasn’t the case. In his Tuesday column, Gee spent the first 43 percent of his 724 words (that’s right, we did the math from the online edition) telling the harrowing story of seeing a coyote in a city backyard, calling a coyote snoozing in a garden a “beast”, and calling coyotes urban infiltrators.
The article, titled “Wild neighbours are overtaking city life” in the print edition, took up nearly a half page above the fold in the first four pages of Tuesday’s paper: prime real estate in a newspaper. By the mid-point of his column, Gee noted that Toronto Animal Services believes coyotes are a natural part of the urban landscape, and it’s up to us to find a way to live with them. Basics on hazing, not feeding, and identifying attractants are listed – but then the conclusion: the fear of a resident over a coyote snoozing in her garden, again.
While this is a column, one meant to be an opinion, it should still be informed. Wild animals – from squirrels and raccoons, to coyotes and deer, are trying to survive in a world that’s getting smaller and smaller, because of our development and growth. They’re not invading, we are. They’re not causing conflict, we are.
Other media outlets across Toronto are providing solutions on conflict mitigation from experts, the City itself is developing education material and new by-laws, and researchers are talking about how beneficial a healthy ecosystem, including coyotes, is for the city. That makes us ask: what exactly is the Globe and Mail trying to do?