The beautiful fur coat of a
healthy wild Coyote.
Yes, this is what they should look like. But from time to time when I give my presentations, a community member will say to me, “Are the photos you show of coyotes, wild coyotes? Their coats look so beautiful.” Then they will continue by saying that they have seen coyotes that look very “mangy” instead.
And my answer to them is, “Yes, the photos I share with you are of healthy wild coyotes. What you are seeing is a Coyote that is suffering from Sarcoptic Mange, a life threatening and litterly agonizing affliction caused by parasitic mites called Sarcoptes scabiei.
These parasites will enter their skin, devouring cells and drinking the fluid of their fur follicles. They cause the Coyote’s skin to turn grey-blue, along with the misery of intense itchy that prevents from sleeping and hunting. The coyotes will scratch themselves raw and often this will cause blood poisoning. In time, they will loose ALL their fur. They are in a state of continual misery, often starving to death because they are unable to hunt, and in the Winter, with all their fur gone…they will freeze to death. See photo below for what they look like as the parasites invades their body.
HOWEVER, wildlife have great immunes systems, and adults can fight off these parasites. But when their immune systems are suppressed, they will succumb to the parasites. We are seeing increased numbers of wild carnivores like Coyotes, wolves, bobcats and cougars succumbing to mange. WHY? We have to look at ourselves again……
My fellow scientists have found that the use of rodent poisons is suppressing the immune systems of these important carnivores, and creating immense misery and death in them. Rodent poisons like De-con kill rodents by causing them to slowly bleed to death internally. So they don’t die right away. Instead, they leave your house where you have the poison, and slowly die out in nature…….where a carnivore like Coyote will eat them……slowly amassing the poisons in their own bodies. And these poisons suppress their immune systems.
ALL LIFE IS ONE……WE CANNOT BE POISONING ONE SPECIES, AND NOT HAVE IT AFFECT OTHERS…INCLUDING OURSELVES.
Never use poisons …..on any wildlife……on your grass….on your flowers…..
photo by John Maguranis
photo by John Tangney
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP
WITH THE WILD?
Relationships are always expressed in our behaviors….and so our lives can be filled with rich, life enhancing relationships, or they can be filled with emptiness expressed in hatred and violence to other life.
As a biologist, I seek to share life enhancing relationships between our humanity and our wild ones…and when I write, these are always what I speak of. But today I share a link with you, where you can look through a dark window into the lives of those who freely choose the emptiness born out of violence.
It is my purpose in showing you this link because we often do not know what we want, until we experience or see what we do NOT want.
I remember giving a presentation on Coyote in one of our rural communities, pointing out the “hunting laws” in Maine regarding Coyote. One point I brought up was that individuals are free to use “hunting” dogs to run coyotes to exhaustion, and then have the dogs kill coyote. A young man raised his hand, and in disbelief said, “That doesn’t happen here in Maine, Does it? I didn’t need to answer him because another community member across the room called out “It sure does!” The young man’s question of disbelief was also his expression of “how can we be allowing this to happen?”
So when you are watching this short link, please note the look on the young Coyote’s face…..I read it as “Why are you doing this to me?” Also I wish to point out to you how these individuals stood by and encouraged their dogs to attack Coyote…..note that pleasure on their faces. What is the relationship to wildness here…..wanting to control….control…act in violence toward wildness….fear of wildness….so wishing to torture and destroy what they fear?
Here is the link:
“There will come a day when such men as myself will view the slaughter of innocent creatures as horrible a crime as the murder of his fellow man … Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of Nature and its beauty.” Albert Einstein
YOUR TASK ~ IS TO CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR AND TELL THEM OF THE WORLD YOU WANT TO HAND DOWN TO YOUR CHILDREN…..YOU WANT PROTECTION OF OUR COYOTES FROM THIS HUMAN VIOLENCE AND PERSECUTION.
photo by Jacques Tournel
IMAGINE, IF YOU WILL. THE EXCRUCIATING AGONY AND TERROR OUR DOMESTIC DOGS EXPERIENCE WHEN THEY ARE CAUGHT IN THE BARBARIC DEVICE OF A STEEL LEGHOLD TRAP……..
AGAIN….this just happed here in southern Maine when a 74 year old man’s dog experienced this. What if this happened to your dog? Here is the link:
Maine hunter forced to shoot his trapped dog
Look at this photo of Coyote…America’s Wild Dog. Coyote’s legs and paws and muscle and tendons and nerves and blood are like those of our dogs…..they suffer as our dogs due….unbelievable pain and terror.
So why do we here in Maine tolerate this truly barbaric activity ?
What does this say about our humanity that we allow this suffering…..
“It is the people who must save the environment [the animals]
It is the people who must make their leaders change.
And we cannot be intimidated
So we must stand up for what we believe in.”
Coyote Pups photo by George Gove
Not long ago, I read a comment spoken by Dan Ashe, Director of our Federal Fish and Wildlife service in Washington. This is what he said ~ “Chimps are one of the world’s iconic species because of their CONNECTIONS AND SIMILIARITY TO HUMANS.”
READ THAT AGAIN…. BUT WHAT CONNECTIONS AND WHAT SIMLITARITIES? I want to speak of one in particular here….
Are they the only ones….by no means! Wild beings who live complex social lives, like we do, have the same capacity to experience the joy of companionship and family life, and the grief of their loss as well.
So Coyotes because of their social nature are especially vulnerable to mourning and grief. Those of you who have dogs, I’m sure have experienced their grief personally yourselves. Below are two links where our domestic canines are expressing grief and mourning, and honoring their dead. Coyotes do the same….you just don’t see this very private part of their lives. Here is the first ~
Here is the second~
Yes, the wild ones have this same capacity for grief and honoring their dead, and they also have the capacity for play and happiness, that those of you who share your lives with your dogs, get to experience every day. So the following link gives you a rare glimpse into that joyful, intelligent play of our wild dog, Coyote~
So then…..what about our human behavior to them? Why do we tolerate the lack of their protection from human violence and cruelty? So what happens to the little coyote pups you see above when their parents are cruelly killed just for sport?
“Midnight Orphan” by Kathleen Fox
This poignant watercolor by Maine artist, Kathleen Fox was inspired by her own personal experience of catching sight of a starving small Coyote pup alone in the forest at night.
And why was this small Coyote pup there alone without the protection of his parents…..his parents were killed at a time in the pup’s life when he needed them for his survival.
And why were his parents killed….because they were Coyotes….and there is NO PROTECTION for Coyotes in Maine. Because there are NO LAWS in Maine to control the human behavior of those individuals who seek recreation by killing this important carnivore…..many coyote pups that will be born this Spring, will be orphaned long before they are able to survive on their own. They will die, suffering from starvation.
A short time ago I read an article in which one of these individuals expressed why he loved “the sport” of killing Coyotes. These are two of his reasons ~ He likes the “challenge” of “outsmarting them…it’s enjoyable” and “I enjoy it because it is me against them”
SO IT IS FUN…IT IS A CHALLENGE….IT IS A SO CALLED SPORT. GOING OUT AND HAVING FUN…BY KILLING ….JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT! When will we as a society look to the ETHICS of how we relate to our fellow beings on the planet? Why is it that we allow laws to be in place that give free reign to these violent activities toward our wildlife.
E. O. Wilson, an esteemed ecologist wrote, ” Once a group (Coyotes) has been split off and sufficiently dehumanized….any brutality can be justified, at any level, and at any size of the victimized group.” in this quote, E.O. Wilson was referring to how we humans treat our fellow humans….but same holds for how we view and then treat non-human beings…..like Coyote.
It is interesting that I also had the opportunity to read about a life long hunter, trapper in Wisconsin, Rick Hanestad. He has been trapping and killing coyotes all his life until ONE DAY. His grandfather who owns a 1,000 acre farm gave an individual permission to kill coyotes there. Well it just so happened that this person killed a lactating female coyote.
Hard core hunter trapper that Rick was, it still did not sit well with him. He knew then that there were pups out there somewhere. After searching and searching for three days, he finally found the den….with 5 helpless tiny, blind coyote pups sqealing in hunger. He still wasn’t sure if this was the mother who had been killed. So he left and came back two days later. What he found….four of the tiny pups had died of starvation, and only one was hanging on.
He took the tiny pup home and cared for it…..and as the little one grew….he found out who Coyote really was. This was a man who killed many coyotes in the past….trapping them and then beating them to death. He said, ” I cannot tell you how this coyote turned me upside down. I feel like I am fightling for the life of my relative.”….he found out for himself that we are all connected….and you know what!
HE LET HIMSELF BE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN! See the photo of “Wiley” the orphaned pup when he was being nurtured back to health. (Remember…this is NOT a photo of a “pet”)
photo by Pierre Giard
A Healthy wild Coyote Family
….a rare sight.
and should it be so rare?
What kind of world do we want to hand down to our children?
It should make us reflect on
how we do things…
And so, in the work I do as a biologist,
I strive always to present to you a Vision of how we want life to be
and offering the Solutions to get there.
But once in a while, it is important to take a good look at what is
so we may be inspired to change it
So on this rare occasion I am attaching two links
Note that they speak about the Federal Agency called Wildlife Services……But note that what you read about this agency, also goes on here in Maine, not by this Federal agency, but by individuals whose violent actions most Mainers no nothing of…..but it is happening here in our own state because there is no law to stop it.