Over these past few months, Nova Scotia has been killing coyotes by the thousands.
October 2009: Taylor Mitchell, a 19-year-old Toronto folk singer died after she was attacked by coyotes in Cape Breton highlands park.
Mitchell was the second human ever recorded in North America to be attacked by a coyote. The first occurred in the United States in August 1981, when 3-year-old Kelly Keen was attacked by a coyote outside her home in Glendale, California, United States. (Source: CBCA/History of Urban Coyote Problems, Robert M. Tim & Rex O. Baker, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 2007)
March 2010: Fear over coyotes is hyped up in the local media and the public starts to pressure the Nova Scotia government to kill coyotes. Department of Natural Resources officials said the province wouldn't implement a coyote cull because bounties had been tried before and were unsuccessful.
April 2010: The provincial government changes its' mind and announces a new $20-per-pelt bounty from October 2010 to March of this year. The province refers to the bounty by as a “pelt-incentive program.”
October 2010 - March 2011: Bounty is implemented. Trappers and hunters receive $20 per coyote they kill (in addition to the sale of the pelt).
May 2011: The Natural Resources Department of Nova Scotia announces that 2,643 coyotes were killed during the cull. (There were 1,736 coyotes killed the year before the bounty was in place.) The estimated coyote population in Nova Scotia is 8,000.
Taxpayers paid $52,860 for the 2,643 coyotes that were killed ($20 per coyote).
Photo: Coyote with his head in a Conibear trap.
Killing is cruel and culls never work.
Scientists agree that coyote bounties don't work. Experts also agree culls actually increase the immigration, reproduction and the survival of remaining coyotes. Quite simply, nature enables more coyotes to fill in the open niche.
Even Taylor Mitchell’s own mother, Emily was against the Nova Scotia coyote cull!
Education is key; A fed coyote is a dead coyote
In Vancouver, we too have to learn to co-exist with coyotes. Rather than killing them off, Vancouver has implemented a fantastic educational program that teaches people how they can reduce wildlife attractants and what to do if they see a coyote.
Rather than focusing their efforts on killing animals, perhaps Nova Scotia needs to target the people who insist on putting these animals at risk. Conflicts between coyotes and people or pets arise when these animals become habituated or accustomed to eating human food.
No word on whether or not the coyote cull will be implemented again during the 2011-2012 hunting/trapping season.
You can help.
1.Never buy fur or fur trim!
2. Voice your opposition to coyote culls. Contact the Nova Scotia department of Natural Resources and encourage them to spend taxpayer money on real solutions such as education prevention programs.
3. Now matter how tempting, never feed a wild animal or make a wild animal habituated to humans. If you are concerned about the welfare of a wild animal, please contact your local wildlife rehabilitation centre.