photo by George Gove
In his book American Serengeti author Dan Flores dedicates a chapter to Coyotes, our native wild canine. In these following words from his book, we can come to understand more and more why Coyotes are so capable of living among us ~
“Like humans, coyotes have fission-fusion societies. They are a rare predator to do so. It allows for unusual flexibility to individuals who can either be gregarious or solitary, depending on what circumstances call for. They can cooperate for large prey, but flexibility allows for more individualized effort in different situations.“
So Coyotes who live in a specific situation… adapt to it. This gives Coyotes the ability to live among us quite successfully. Note the above photo where the Coyotes are raising their little ones in a cemetery. And just as Coyotes are very beneficial to farmers in keeping the ecosystem of their farm in balance, so do coyotes keep the ecosystems of our suburbs and cities in balance.
SO WE NEED TO LET THEM GO ABOUT THEIR LIVES.
So one of the largest cities in our country….Chicago….has brought this to their legislature. In the words of the legislator who brought this bill forth: “Leave them alone.” See below a link detailing Chicago’s enlightened understanding of their Coyotes value in their city. What a great understanding to pass on to our children!
photo by Jim Hackley
When a wildlife tragedy occurs ….
I always want to take it as an opportunity to educate, and not point fingers. And so, a wildlife tragedy occurred in Chappaqua, New York this month of June. As the story has been told, a female coyote killed a person’s dog and was aggressive to another dog being walked on a leash in a comfortable development over seen by the homeowners association.
The immediate response was to call up Federal Wildlife Service to come, trap, and kill whatever coyote landed in the trap. And they did so without delay, saying that the coyote they killed they thought was “the one!”
This knee jerk response to kill our fellow beings has no place in a society where education regarding our native wild dogs is available in perfusion. But why educate oneself…killing is easier. This sad event reminds me of another event that took place just a few years ago in Ohio when Wildlife Services decided to kill a coyote for some unknown reason of their own, saying that she had rabies. Well….she didn’t! It just so happened that it was May, and she was the alpha mother who had just given birth to her pups.
This family of coyotes lived in the Cleveland Metroparks, visited by many people…biking, hiking picnicking, etc. No one ever saw any member of this Coyote family. They were very reclusive. But after the mother coyote of this family was killed, the whole family went “into chaos” as the lead biologist described it. Once never seen by people, they began running after people on bikes. But….instead of killing the coyotes, the biologists roped off their territory, not allowing any person to be there. They then allowed the coyote family to recover from their loss, and they reverted back to their reclusive behavior once again.
Such a difference between Cleveland, Ohio and Chappaqua, New York!
So the question is ~ why was this coyote in New York aggressive? Was that question ever asked? What time of the year is it.? Oh…pup raising time! Coyotes, like all canines love their pups, and are very protective of their little ones….especially from domestic dogs. Was there a den near by, that she was seeking to protect? What small changes in human behavior would have given the coyotes their sense of safety?
What could have been different in Chappaqua? What have they taught their children?
Killing is the answer!
They could have taught them to ask: How should we change OUR behavior?
Cougar by Josh More
We are living in a time of Transition ~
A Physical Transition
An Internal Transition
As we humans continue to rapidly increase our population on our planet Earth, we are leaving very few places for those we share the planet with. It is especially difficult for large carnivores like cougars, coyotes, bears, and wolves who require large landscapes to survive and disperse through.
These amazing wild beings are showing us that they can find a way to live with us…they can adapt. We are experiencing this especially with Cougars and Coyotes.
BUT……. CAN WE FIND A WAY TO LIVE WITH THEM. And most of that has to do with OUR INTERNAL TRANSITION ~ moving from fear to respect.
Watch this very thoughtful TED Talk by Beth Pratt on P22 and sharing our planet.
photo by John Tangney
YOU SEE BEFORE YOU TWO VERY INTELLIGENT SPECIES COMMUNICATING WITH EACH OTHER
in a way only they know …. two coyote mates and crow
Intelligent carnivores like Coyotes have the capacity to interact successfully with all species in their environment….including us. Though you may not even be aware of it….they observe your behavior and how you use your environment, and they act accordingly. This is true for those who find rural areas their homes, as well as those who find cities and suburbs their homes.
We who live on the American continent are so fortunate to have our unique and resilient Coyotes…America’s wild dogs….or as the Navajos would say “God’s Dog”
They can live among us…and while striving to survive themselves they at the same time are keeping our human environments healthy and balanced. Below is a link from the Wildlife Society sharing the research of Dr. Stan Gehrt: Coyotes living in Chicago… a tribute to their amazing resiliency!
Do we know how to live with them?
An Indomitable Beast by Alan Rabinowitz is a new book following the author’s journey to study and protect this beautiful and powerful carnivore of the New World. The author, a wildlife biologist of the future, shares not only what he has learned about the Jaguar but his courageous efforts to protect this species and empower the human community to live in peace with them.
Jaguars and Coyotes have much in common~
Both live only in the New World…the Jaguar in South and Central America, and limited areas
of Southwestern United States. The Coyote in North and Central America.
Both are very old species that have survived the Pleistocene time when the great Glaciers
covered large areas of the earth, and the climate was erratic and extreme. Many others succumbed…but they found a way to survive.
Both are smaller than their larger counterparts: the jaguar smaller than the lion or cheetah; the coyote smaller than the wolf.
Both have a diverse diet…not relying on only one kind of food
Both have been Icons to the Native peoples of the New World. The following are the words of present day Native people~
Words of the indigenous peoples of Costa Rica, the Cahecar: “The Jaguar is weaker now (referring to all the persecution and killing of this great cat) all the animals are weaker, so the world is weaker……people are much weaker too.”
Words of Native American poet Dell Hynes regarding Coyote: “Never will he go from this Land, here always, this is how Coyote is on the land.”
photo by Jacques Tournel
TAKE FEAR……MOVE IT OUT OF THE WAY…..IT BLOCKS YOU FROM THE REAL EXPERIENCE