I appreciate the recent article on Laguna’s plan to exterminate urban coyotes but would point out that targeting pregnant females in the spring and juveniles in the fall is a fallacy. Snare traps indiscriminately trap all coyotes traversing the area as well as untargeted wildlife and even unrestrained pets. Animals caught in these traps either die in the struggle to free themselves, or if still alive when the trapper returns, are euthanized on site.
The plan for increased trapping is recommended by the trapper contracted with the city. He will benefit financially from an expanded contract. Meanwhile, numerous wildlife organizations have recommended proven humane and effective coyote management plans that include greater public education to remove food and water sources from residential areas and management techniques based on a thorough understanding of the biology and ecology of urban wildlife species.
These methods have proven successful in many California communities, including Calabasas and Davis, as well as other communities throughout the west.
Occasional attacks by coyotes on pets and aggression toward people (although rare) understandably trigger alarm in people fearing for the safety of their pets and children. But research shows that wide scale programs to trap coyotes don’t work.
Coyote populations, when aggressively controlled, increase their reproductive rate by breeding at an earlier age and having larger litters thereby allowing coyote populations to quickly bounce back, even when as much as 70 percent of their numbers are removed.
Please let the City Council know before January’s mid-year budget hearing that they should vote against recommendations to expand coyote trapping and instead follow the advice of wildlife biology experts to implement and enforce effective 21st century methods to deter urban coyotes from residential areas.
Irene Bowie, Laguna Beach