Headlines are popping up across Ontario and other parts of Canada: coyotes seen near X. Whether it’s a playground, a park, a Walmart, or a backyard, these articles do what they set out to do: put people on edge. Often, they don’t contain much valuable information about coexistence, and rarely – if ever – do the journalists speak to experts who aren’t government employed.
We thought it’d be a good idea to put together a list of things to do when you see coyotes (or any other wildlife) near your home:
- Nothing. In most cases the wildlife belongs just as much as we do and they’re looking for the same things we are: a safe place to feed and care for our families. Generally, if we leave wildlife alone and follow the tips below, they’ll live their lives peacefully alongside us with no conflict. Enjoy your neighbours from afar.
- Check for attractants. Coyotes, like most animals, will go for an easy meal. They’ll also learn where to return for a consistently easy meal. That’s why it’s so important to not feed them (or other wildlife) and make sure that you don’t have anything sitting around that could bring them closer.
- Talk with friends and neighbours. If a coyote is getting close to people routinely, it may be that someone has taught them to come close for a handout. Talk to your friends and neighbours about the importance of not feeding – and the reality that just like bears, a fed coyote is often a dead coyote.
- Educate! Coyotes are wonderful for ecosystems: they clean up carrion and waste from other animals, they keep rodent populations down (and as a result help combat ticks and Lyme disease), and they are an indicator of a healthy habitat. The Fur-Bearers regularly posts content about coyotes, and we have educational materials for municipalities and communities in need. So share, share, share!
Regardless of media sensationalism or even articles that don’t quite provide the right information, coyotes and other wildlife are learning to live around us. Science and experience have shown us that we, too, can live around wildlife. It just comes down to choosing to move forward, together.