To prevent wildlife conflicts
Should you come across a coyote or black bear
- Do not feed wildlife. Table scraps and leftovers should never be left outside. Also pick up fallen fruit (coyotes love fruit).
- Do not over feed wild birds. Too much bird seed will not only attract birds, but rodents, rabbits and squirrels which will in turn attract larger predatory animals.
- Keep pets indoors and do not leave pet food outside. Coyotes are also attracted to unspayed or unneutered dogs, so please spay and neuter your companion animals. Never leave your companion animals unattended outside and keep your small dog on a short leash.
- Secure garbage and compost with tight fitting lids, ideally making them inaccessible to scavenging animals.
- Rinse all recycling food containers well.
- Do not approach wild animals.
- Keep a clean and tidy yard. Remove old woodpiles and keep sheds in good repair.
Although they are curious, coyotes are naturally very shy and will not normally approach or attack humans. Also rare are black bear attacks. Should these animals approach you:
- Shout and throw rocks; become as loud and aggressive as possible.
- Wave your arms while standing up, stomp your feet.
- Do not run or turn your back.
- When hiking, use a "bear bell".
In semi-urban or rural areas, there can often be problems between predator animals (such as wolves and coyotes) attacking livestock. As a result the agricultural sector is often keen to support bounties on animals such as wolves and coyotes.
For example, due to pressure from farmers, in November of 2009, the Saskatchewan government introduced a five-month “coyote control program”. It offered hunters, farmers and ranchers $20 per dead coyote as long as all four paws were brought in. Over 71,000 coyotes were killed and the final cost to the taxpayers was approximately $1.5 million. (3) A Word About Bounties or Predator “Culls”
Scientists argue that bounties on predator animals such as coyotes or wolves are ineffective because the remaining animals will quickly reproduce to fill in the available ecological niche. Studies also show animals such as coyotes naturally increase their litter sizes in response to the lower population density. (4)
Also, removing a large number of animals within a short amount of time can have a disastrous effect on the ecosystem as a whole.
For example, when wolves were being exterminated in Yellowstone Park in the United States in the early 20th Century, it resulted in a soaring elk population.
The larger elk population led to the decline of aspen, cottonwood and willow trees that were crucial components of natural habitat for birds, beavers, and other animals.
In addition to those problems, the coyote population skyrocketed, dramatically reducing the population of deer and ground squirrels, which then negatively impacted the mid-level predators like foxes, hawks, owls and pine martens. The downward spiral of the ecological balance within Yellowstone Park persisted until the successful re-introduction of Canadian grey wolves in 1995. (5) Alternatives for Predator Control
There are several farmers and producers across North America who have made a commitment to using only predator friendly practices to protect their livestock.
Non-lethal alternatives to protecting livestock include using guardian animals such as llamas and donkeys and scheduling pasture use when predation pressure is low. Farmers can also graze cattle with smaller animals, frequently patrol their pastures and protect vulnerable animals by fencing out predators.
It is also helpful to confine all outdoor animals from dusk to dawn. During the birthing season, young and vulnerable animals should be confined at all times. Sick, injured or dead animals should be removed immediately. Coyotes in particular have a keen sense of smell and will quickly find dead animals. Bury animal carcasses with a minimum of 2 feet of soil. (6)
While some scare devices, such as motion detectors, radios, and other noise makers can deter predators, they will become ineffective once predators realize they are no longer dangerous.Further reading :
Human-Coyote Interactions in Calgary, Alberta, March 23, 2011
Victoria M. Lukasik, Department of Geography, University of Calgary
Spatial and Temporal Variation of Coyote Diet in Calgary, Alberta, February 23, 2012
Victoria M. Lukasik, Department of Geography, University of CalgaryReferences:
1. Stanley Park Ecology Society. “Co-existing with coyotes” 27 Oct, 20102. BC Bear Aware, http://www.bearaware.bc.ca/ May, 20123. CTV News. Saskatchewan Minister Defends Coyote Bounty. 27, May 2010 4. Gehrt, S. T. 2006. Urban Coyote Ecology and Management: The Cook County, Illinois, Coyote Project. Ohio State University Extension.5. Hunting Habits of Wolves Change Ecological Balance in Yellowstone”, The New York Times, October 18, 2005 6. Predator Control. “Predator Friendly Certification” 27 Oct, 2010.