Science brings end to cull in NJ

The community of Princeton, New Jersey, was seriously considering a cull. Hunters were rubbing their palms in preparation of the town’s policy, which would allow “sharp shooters” to cull the estimated 80 coyotes in the area. But then, Princeton Council did a funny thing: they looked to science.Coyote-Oct15

According to NJ.com, Council President Bernie Miller announced that the science of coyotes and culls convinced them to take a different avenue.

“We did think very seriously about conducting a cull, but as we did that, we dug further into the literature, and the further we got, we found that a cull might not be productive for a suburban area like Princeton,” Miller told NJ.com.

While it was shocking to some Princeton residents that Council reversed their original decision to cull, to those of us who monitor such situations, it was a relief. Culls do not work for a number of reasons when addressing wildlife concerns. In the case of coyotes, they can actually increase the perceived “problem.”

Perhaps the most adaptable mammal in North America, coyotes will increase their litter size when persecuted. They will take advantage of any food source made available to them – particularly when humans make it a habit of feeding them, intentionally or unintentionally. And when coyotes are removed from an area, new coyotes move in rather quickly.

Education, wildlife feeding by-laws and enforcement are the best ways to prevent conflict and live harmoniously with coyotes, as shown by our friends at Coyote Watch Canada and Project Coyote.

We’d like to congratulate Princeton for their decision to look to science, rather than hunters’ myths, to find a way to coexist with wildlife.

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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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