For many people, their closest encounter with a coyote is hearing its howl curdle the night from afar. But coyote sightings are now on the increase across New York, meaning greater potential for attacks, say Cornell University researchers, who are launching a five-year study of why the once-wary creatures are becoming more aggressive toward humans.
Coyotes once ranged primarily in the northwest United States, but they are quick learners, resourceful and have adapted readily to the changes caused by human occupation. Coyotes have the breeding habits, diet and social dynamics to survive in a wide variety of habitats — everywhere from deserts and mountain tops to golf courses and city parks.
Fearful of being hunted and trapped, coyotes have typically stayed in wooded areas and away from humans, rarely presenting a danger. But in recent decades, coyotes have started foraging in suburban areas throughout the country, and attacks on people have been on the increase.
New York puts this out to help educate people about coyotes. It includes this laundry list:
* Do not feed coyotes
* If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior – make loud noises, wave your arms, throw sticks and stones.
* Do not allow pets to run free.
* Do not feed pets outside.
* Make any garbage inaccessible to coyotes and other animals.
* Eliminate availability of bird seed. Coyotes are attracted to the concentration of birds and rodents that come to feeders. If you do feed birds, clean up waste seed and spillage.
* Fencing your yard may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level.
* Remove brush and tall grass from around your property to reduce protective cover for coyotes
* Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.
* Regulated hunting and trapping increases the “fear” coyotes have towards people.
* Ask your neighbors to follow these same steps.
Notice what is missing–there is no statement encouraging hunters to shoot coyotes. Just some generic “Regulated hunting and trapping increases the “fear” coyotes have towards people” statement. How about this: “Support Hunters and any program that will significantly reduce the coyote population.”