More and more tragic wildlife “management” decisions are being made by untrained law enforcement individuals and The Fur-Bearers once again is calling for that to stop.
The decision by Toronto Police to shoot a coyote with mange (a treatable skin condition) and a “brain disease”, (which they cannot explain the origin of the “brain disease” comment or why that was thought) is yet another example of lack of training in wildlife/human situations.
June 29 the Toronto Wildlife Centre (TWC) was called to the scene where six Toronto Police officers each had guns drawn on a coyote in Scarborough, Ontario. TWC explained there was no evidence of “brain disease” and that the TWC and Toronto Animal Services were working on catching the coyote. The police were given the TWC’s phone number for future assistance.
After that incident it was discovered that coyote is a father of three cubs, and mom was hit and killed by a car.
On July 23, the police shot and injured the coyote. They did not kill the father and lost track of him after following a trail of blood. Three cubs are likely now orphaned and they cannot be found. This shooting is likely to have resulted in four needless deaths. They did not attempt to call the TWC.
This is not an isolated incident: across Canada, un-trained law enforcement have been called to deal with wildlife conflict incidents. The Fur-Bearers has repeatedly called for training for any agency that needs to deal with wildlife nationwide.
The Toronto Police say they act in the public interest, yet they’ve now taken a situation where a coyote which only had mange, is now injured and slowly dying, putting the public at even more of a risk.
In the history of Toronto, there has only been one recorded instance when a coyote nipped a person. These shy, timid animals weigh approximately 30 lbs. and are not dangerous to people.
The Fur-Bearers stand behind the Toronto Wildlife Centre in their call for a review by Toronto Police of their policies on responding to animal calls; calls which should best be handled by Toronto Animal Services and / or TWC. We are currently soliciting Toronto city council again, as we did three years ago after the coyote shooting in 2013.
Residents in Scarborough, especially in the Euclid Ave. and Morrish Rd. area where the shooting took place, are asked to report sightings of the coyote to TWC @ (416) 631-0662. Residents should also write to the Toronto Police and the city of Toronto to investigate this incident and act in changing laws to help wildlife.
Mayor’s office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Across Canada, if you see injured, orphaned or questionable wildlife, call your local wildlife rehabilitator, they are more than happy to provide their years and years of experience to assess the situation and if further intervention is needed, they can provide the correct direction.
Dear Mayor and Council,
As a resident of Toronto, I was appalled to learn that an urban coyote was recently shot , injured and lost by Toronto Police officers.
This incident was completely unnecessary and sends a terrible message to the public that coyotes should be feared and are expendable. The police have made the situation worse now as there is an injured coyote roaming around.
The truth is that coyotes are naturally shy dog-like animals that scare easily. There are hundreds of urban coyotes that inhabit every part of town and coyote attacks are extremely rare.
In fact, Toronto Animal Services has only one coyote attack on record involving a human being: a “very minor bite” more than a decade ago when a woman was feeding a wounded coyote.
I am concerned that local residents and Toronto's police do not have the appropriate tools to address urban wildlife issues and their default response is to simply kill animals. This is not acceptable.
I am aware that organizations including The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, Toronto Wildlife Centre are urging council to adopt a bylaw to prevent the feeding of wildlife. The Fur-Bearers is offering free assistance to the city to help create a "Living with Coyote" program.
Such initiatives will not only provide necessary education to residents about how to respond appropriately to urban coyotes, they will also go a long way to protect the animals themselves.
Will you please accept the help of these organizations and adopt a no wildlife feeding bylaw and a "Living with Coyotes" program?