Officials do little to help residents worried about wildlife

Residents in Milton, Ontario, are getting mixed messages about coyotes after a provincial official and town staff spoke to a local media outlet.

The Milton Canadian Champion last week wrote of residents who are seeing an increase in coyotes in their community. Dog owners and long-time residents of the once small town are “worried for their safety” due to the coyotes’ presence.

One community member requested that the town erect signs along trails so that dog owners like herself can be aware of the coyotes, but an official noted that "the posting of signs at parks and on trails is not something the Town is pursuing at this time."

And a provincial official said that while removing food attractants can help minimize “the threat,” it’s not a guarantee that it can help altogether. “Lethal removal is warranted,” he said of coyotes to the Champion.

While the town may not be directly responsible for managing wildlife – it does fall under the purview of the province – the response from the Ministry of Natural Resources official is nothing short of irresponsible.

Current science shows that “lethal removal” of coyotes actually increases their populations; further, disrupting the family unit very likely increases the odds of conflict with livestock or domestic animals, as shown in a study out of the western United States earlier this year.

Many municipalities are struggling with managing wildlife conflict and the expectations of residents and provincial programs are defunded to the point of failure. The Fur-Bearers are happy to work with such communities to provide simple educational materials through to assisting in the development of a full wildlife management strategy.

But it will often come down to residents recognizing that they’re being given political rhetoric by provincial officials and pressuring their municipal representatives to do more. In the case of Milton, Ontario, it seems residents are ready for the municipality to step up.

Coyotes and many other species of wildlife have learned to live with us. Isn’t it time that we learned to live with them?

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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