Coyote of the First Snows, by David Cartier on Flickr.
Coyote grabs Boston Terrier from front porch as shocked owner looks on! 70-year-old sister off-roads to the rescue! Dog is saved! And the kid with the backpack is OK, too. [I swiped the post's title from commenter Mike in that same thread, because it was irresistible.]
But note: neither the Big Bear Discovery Center nor the Big Bear Lake Animal Hospital report any uptick in coyote attacks. It's the forest, for crissakes: if cats and small dogs look available, coyotes will take 'em. The local paper hasn't published any articles on coyote attacks, and the only mention I've seen of the backpack-wielding youngster was in that forum post. Not that I'm cavalier about taking the dogs outside at night, up in Big Bear. I'm just sayin'.
Meanwhile, "Don't Feed the Wildlife" signs are installed in Griffith Park:
In a ceremony Monday, Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge installed the first of these signs. LaBonge told those assembled that he often sees coyotes on his daily hikes through the park but never feeds them. "We just say hi to each other."It occurs to me that while LaBonge and Br'er Coyote are enjoying their Dr. Dolittle moment, we've hit Level 6 on the Risk to Human Health and Safety scale:
According to Baker and Timm (1998), there are several signs that indicate a human health and safety risk between coyotes and humans. The following, in order of occurrence, are signs that coyotes pose a risk to human health and safety:So, is chucking a rock [or worse] at every too-close coyote the best way to keep them wild? According to two studies, once coyotes have moved onto your porch, what gets rid of them isn't guns and such — what scares them off [in SoCal, at least] is trapping:
1. Increase in taking of pets at night.
2. Increase in observance of coyotes on streets and yards at night.
3. Observance of coyotes on streets and in parks and yards during daylight hours, in early morning and late afternoon.
4. Observance of coyotes chasing or taking pets during daylight hours.
5. Taking pets on leashes and chasing joggers, bikers, etc.
6. Observance of coyotes in and around children’s play areas and parks during mid-day.
[Source (pdf): Management of Urban Coyotes and Attacks in Green Valley, Pima County, Arizona, by C. D. Carrillo, J. Schmidt, D. Bergman, and G. Paz.]
Baker and Timm (1998) and Timm et al. (2004) noted that of all techniques used in controlling problem coyotes in southern California, trapping had the greatest observed effect of re-instilling a fear of humans into the local coyote population. When 2 to 5 coyotes were trapped in a problem locality, the remaining coyotes would often disperse. [Source (pdf).]I love wild coyotes. I love hearing them, and I love knowing that they're playing their part in forest and foothill ecosystems. But I don't want coyotes standing outside the front door and waiting for a handout or a pet dog to grab, and I don't think anyone else in Southern California does, either.
Trouble is, the concept of "re-instilling a fear of humans into the local coyote population" is offensive to many people in SoCal cities and suburbs, no matter how much it benefits coyotes. Trapping is anathema. Putting food outside [for feral cats, in particular] won't stop anytime soon. So the problems escalate, from coyotes taking pets at night to coyotes attacking pets on leashes in broad daylight, until a child is hurt or a neighborhood's cats disappear or a pet dog is snatched from an elderly owner and killed. Then something has to be done. I don't envy the biologists charged with keeping silly people and wily coyotes safe from each other.
Coyote news [from this blog]
Coyotes at home and away [from this blog]
More on coyote bounties in Saskatchewan
Special Report: On Coyote Attacks and the Death of Canadian Folk Singer Taylor Mitchell
Urban Coyote Symposium: Papers from the Proceedings of the 12th Wildlife Damage Management Conference
Information on Urban Coyotes — both from CoyoteBytes [website last updated 1/09 (?)]