In July we attended the Arts Festival and read the Laguna Beach Independent about the coyote attacks on pets. This is tragic, but I cannot help but wonder what if people were more aware of coyotes, their part in nature, and how our behavior can cause conflict. These animals are an important part of the ecosystem. They eat small rodents, lizards, berries and fruit. They also eat dead animals. They are nature’s clean up crew and are opportunistic; they will eat our pet food and rummage through garbage cans. If we invite them, they will come.
Coyotes are good parents; both male and female coyotes help raise the young. They communicate with one another so that a few can sound like many.
The most egregious act we commit is intentionally feeding them. All wildlife is better left to behave naturally. Once fed, a wild animal loses fear of man. When a coyote takes a pet, the coyote must pay. He wears no ID so when we send in killers, coyotes are destroyed whether they ever took a pet. They are never released. If they have pups, they, too, will die.
The website of the City of Laguna Woods states there is intentional feeding of coyotes. How tragic! What an injustice. Nine coyotes have been killed according to one report.
And here is another fact: coyotes will move back into the area. As the website states, there are wildlife corridors vital for animals displaced from their homes by humans. When a vacuum exists, neighboring wildlife have larger litters, so in time more coyotes will return to Laguna Woods. How we choose to behave will determine if residents can co-exist peacefully. Other communities have learned how. It is time for Laguna Woods to enforce their $1000 fine for feeding and send letters to every resident sharing the information they have about coyotes and their behavior. Not everyone uses a computer, so the city must do more to fix the problem, which is human beings, and stop killing the coyotes.
To those who want wildlife to be part of your community, call city hall and become a voice for wildlife. For more information on coyotes contact Project Coyote at projectcoyote.org, (415) 945-3232, P.O. Box 5007 Larkspur, CA 94977.
Bee Simpson, South Pasadena