Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oregon Police shoot to kill Coyotes

Police given order to shoot-to-kill Coyotes.

First of all, I like how in the article a Sherwood, Oregon police officer states that they don't want to give the impression that coyotes are 'on the rampage' and yet if you look at the full url title of the article it uses the word 'terrorizing'. Nice. Trust journalists to try to sensationalize anything they can.
According to the article coyote sightings in Sherwood were rare until the 1980's, and have been on the increase ever since. Surely it has occurred to the Department of Fish and Wildlife to consider the cause of this increase? Coyotes are extremely adaptable and opportunistic animals, who adjust well to life near or among humans, much as raccoons and skunks do. Certainly suburban neighborhoods provide a boon for hungry animals who can easily obtain a meal from cat food left out (or even your cat if he isn't wily) or garbage cans left on the street. But is that really all that is drawing coyotes to the cities and causing such a staggering population increase? Research in other areas, such as Yellowstone Park have shown that coyote numbers typically increase when other wildlife numbers, such as big game and larger predators, are down. Hopefully DFW is looking into this imbalance to find a way to rectify the situation without putting out 'Wanted: DEAD' posters on the local coyotes. Also, I'm curious as to why this matter is being handled by the police department, and not by Fish and Wildlife? How is the kill program being regulated? What keeps someone from just going out and machinegunning a whole pile of coyotes?
Though there is certainly no shortage of coyotes in North America, I still find it offensive that they are allowed to be shot simply for poking their noses into what human beings have come to consider their private space.
A note to the people of Sherwood, Oregon: The environment does not belong to you. You're just borrowing it for a while. Think of it as a holiday share. Don't repaint the walls and leave a mess in the kitchen when you leave. Leave it exactly as you found it, maybe even a little tidier. Gaia thanks you.

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