Officials point to social media for increase in sightings, not more coyotes

Officials point to social media for increase in sightings, not more coyotes

Politicians and the public might think there are more coyotes in Los Angeles, but scientists agree that social media is likely to blame for this misconception. reports that the California city’s animal control department is recommending more education, more wildlife staff, and warning signs and covered trash cans to be placed in city parks. But they will not recommend trapping or lethal control.

“Coyotes, animal services officials say, cause few problems that can’t be resolved with better coexistence training and compliance on the part of the city’s residents,” writes the’s Donna Littlejohn. “There are no recommendations for changes to city ordinances or policies, which include a City Council motion, passed unanimously, that already bans the use of leg, snare and other devices for trapping wildlife.”

In their report, the city’s animal control department, in consultation with California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Park Service, notes that: “there is a consensus that there has not been an increase in the number of coyotes in the communities. What all of the agencies are experiencing is an increase to the number of calls attributed to an increase in social media and how new voices now have easier means to express concerns. It is nothing new. CDFW and NPS acknowledge that there is no scientific data that proves or disproves that there is an increase in coyote activity in urban communities.”

It is refreshing to see that not only is science being heralded for resolution to potential wildlife conflict, but that a strong history of compassion – the ban of traps – remains intact. It is what we can all strive to emulate.

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