Coyote and Ecosystem Balance

Posted by on Aug 17, 2014 in Blog, Coyote and Ecosystem Health | 0 comments

whitetail deer

whitetail deer

History is who we are,
why we are,
the way we are.”
historian David McCullough

Our history as a society on this new American continent is filled with complexities, and immensely different perspectives and belief systems that are passionately held.

So too the perspectives held regarding the wildlife we share this land with. The initial views brought over by Europeans regarding wildlife have changed little in 500 years. There are the good ones…the deer, and the bad ones…the carnivores.

But our science has opened another window for us….do we choose to look into it? What our science has shown us is that the deer and the carnivore work together to create healthy ecosystems that we as humans require to live.

Carnivores keep our deer populations at healthy numbers…10 to 20 per square mile depending on the landscape and weather conditions, and the deer sustain our carnivores’ lives.

So here is a scenario taking place in National Park lands in Maryland and Virginia….the Civil War battlefields. At this time there are 230 deer per square mile on these past battlefields, and scientists are sharing that they are destroying the flora and the fauna…the landscape and the other animals who require that landscape to survive.

So what is the proposed plan? Spend 1.8 million dollars to kill 2,800 of those deer in the next five years. After that they plan to use chemical contraception to control the herds.

IS THERE SOMETHING GLARINGLY OUT OF BALANCE WITH NATURE’S PLAN HERE?
WHERE ARE THE CARNIVORES?

So here in Maine, our carnivores play this immensely important role of taking care of our deer herds. It is nature’s way….though we completely understand it or not.

 

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Lyme Disease and Coyote

Posted by on Aug 10, 2014 in Blog, Coyote and Ecosystem Health | 0 comments

photo by Jan Myers

photo by Jan Myers

HOW WE TREAT COYOTES MATTERS!

This past week I spoke with a friend of mine whose daughter is being treated for Lyme disease.  It has been an ongoing difficult time for both a mother who is deeply concerned for her daughter, and her daughter who just graduated from high school with the happy expectation of attending the college of her choice.

But she may not be able to go to college this year as planned, as she suffers from continual dizziness due to the effects of Lyme disease.

We know that Coyote’s primary food for most of the year are RODENTS…and that rodents (white footed mice) are the carriers of the Lyme disease bacterium. We also know that these particular mice favor living in disturbed ecosystems….like the ones we live in.

But at the same time the state of Maine allows the killing of Coyotes year round, day and night. …this important carnivore who is capable of controlling the white footed mice population. So the scenario goes something like this ~ a Coyote family is living in their territory and regulary keeping a balance in the rodent population. Then an individual will come and kill the entire coyote family, including their small pups. That ecosystem that once was their territory ceases to be balanced and protected from disease, as the rodent population will grow with no population controls through the carnivore…Coyote.

That is when we humans enter this scenario. Landscapes that are not kept in balance by means of our major carnivores become UNSAFE places for us. Exposure to Lyme disease rises in landscapes where Coyotes are not. And yes, other carnivores prey on rodents as well…such as hawks, foxes and owls. But a large carnivore like Coyote has a much greater affect because of their capacity to hunt so many more rodents for their sustenance.

SO WHY DO WE ALLOW THE YEAR ROUND KILLING OF THIS IMPORTANT CARNIVORE ?

What is best for them is ALSO best for us.

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Respect for their Wildness

Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Blog, Coyote and Ecosystem Health | 0 comments

photo by Andy Marks

photo by Andy Marks

    NEVER FEED WILDLIFE!

So what is the significance of this statement?

THERE IS GREAT SIGNIFICANCE, a significance that goes beyond the “common sense” reasons.

Katy Payne in her book Silent Thunder, writes “I was thinking about what is lost when wildness is lost, and realizing that habituation  is not just a slight modification of wild nature. It is a huge step toward tameness, in which all kinds of odd circumstances are accepted as normal.”  Feeding wildlife leads to habituation.

WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE TAKE SOMETHING AWAY FROM WILD BEINGS WHEN WE FEED THEM…..we take away Respect!

Mary Oliver writes, “It makes impossible the other view of nature, which is of a realm both sacred and intricate, as well as powerful, of which we are no more than a single part.”

So look into the eyes of this truly wild Coyote …..

SO WHY IS BAITING WILDLIFE TO MAKE IT EASY TO KILL THEM…..LEGAL? As biologists we are always encouraging our communities not to feed wildlife ….and that means wild birds and Seagulls….and yet feeding bears dunkin’ donuts, and luring Coyotes toward huge bait piles of none other than the remains of farm animals bodies…is all legal?

THE WILD COYOTE PEERING OUT AT YOU FROM THIS PHOTO IS ASKING YOU “WHY?”

 

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Monarch Butterflies … and Coyote

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in Blog, Coyote and Ecosystem Health | 0 comments

Monarch on Milkweed

Monarch on Milkweed

One of our farmers in Maine shared with me a while back, that before the Coyotes expanded their range into Maine, he could not keep the deer our of his garden….suffering economic loss year after year.

But after the Coyotes arrived on his farm, the deer did not “hang around” and eat up all his vegetables. Instead they kept on the move……Now this is what happens when there is the BALANCE of the predator and the prey on the landscape.

Our deer herds have lived with wolves for thousands of years here in Maine, and their behavior has been shaped by that relationship. And so our deer herds today know how to relate when coyote is present on the landscape.

SO WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MONARCH BUTTERFLIES AND THEIR SURVIVAL ???

Well….large carnivores like Coyote keep large herbivores like deer ON THE MOVE…preventing them from eating up the VITAL WILD HABITAT of invaluable insects like butterflies and bees, as well as many of our bird species.  So wherever our native plants are present, these species can survive and perform the important work of pollination, and for birds…insect patrol.

That is why we want to support our Organic farms here in Maine who grow our food without herbicides that poison and kill these important species, but who also support the presence of coyotes on their farms, who by their presence protect the habitat… preventing the deer from eating it up.

And what about your land…..?  Know that your property, whether it be farm or not, can be a place of healthy habitat for these important insects….and you want to PROTECT COYOTES THAT SHARE YOUR LAND WITH YOU.  WHEN YOU PROTECT COYOTES, YOU PROTECT MANY OTHER SPECIES.

To understand how VITAL THESE CONNECTIONS ARE, this year was the first year in memory that the people of central Mexico did not observe the iconic return of the Monarch on November 1. Instead they straggled in a week later after their long migration…..LESS THAN 3 MILLION….COMPARED TO LAST YEAR…..60 MILLION.

All of life is connected….and how we live our lives….and the farmers we support for the way they farm….touches the lives of many species.

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Coyote and the Cats …. Look what is Happening!

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013 in Blog, Coyote and Ecosystem Health | 0 comments

photo by Bruce Marsh

photo by Bruce Marsh

Here is one of our Maine Coyotes….going about her important work in this ecosystem of one of our Maine landowners. Our coyotes can have large territories, but within their territories are what is called their core areas, the places where they spend most of their time.  So too, our urban coyotes in our cities in Maine, like Bangor and Portland, have core areas as well.

 

So here is just how amazing our major carnivores, like Coyotes, are….how they affect health in our ecosystems, and affect other species…..just by their presence!

Dr. Stan Gehrt, out of Ohio University, has been conducting urban Coyote research in Chicago for the past 12 years or so…..and this is his latest finding ~ The researchers have found that domestic cats are recognizing Coyote’s core areas (which are green refuges within the cities) and staying away from them, in order to survive. Instead the cats are spending more time closer to human abodes and buildings.

THE AMAZING RESULT ~ Bird species that would otherwise fall prey to domestic cats in these green refuges, are protected by coyote’s presence there. And as a biologist, I would suggest that if we were able to do that research here in Maine in our rural areas, we would begin to see the same happening.

So if you would like to support that wonderful diversity of bird species on your land, protect the Coyotes that share your land with you!……as this Maine landowner, who took this photo, does.

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Healthy Maine Landscape ~ Healthy Us!

Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Blog, Coyote and Ecosystem Health | 0 comments

 

“Skyote” by Maine artist Gwen Sylvester

SPRING IS HERE!  AND SO IS THE DIVERSITY OF LIFE EVER SO NOTICEABLE……..Out come the black flies, out come the ticks, and out come the many, many rodents who pro-create in great numbers!

IN COMES COYOTE! ……VERY BUSY WITH RODENT PATROL as you can see in the beautiful art piece created by Maine artist, Gwen Sylvester.  How significant is this ecological work of Coyotes…..very significant!

We need coyotes here to keep the system in balance, to keep our rodent populations in check…..this we know through research is vital to controlling Lyme disease here in Maine.

PROTECT THE COYOTES ON YOUR LAND FROM HUMAN EXPLOITATION.

 

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