Wiley Beach coyote still on the lam

For once, Wile E. Coyote’s plans still have not been foiled by the Road Runner or an Acme corporation device.

The coyote that has been roaming in the Neville Park Boulevard area of the Beach for almost two months is still at large, despite the city’s attempts at catching it. The city originally intended to capture and euthanize the coyote,but then decided to relocate it once it’s trapped.

Mike Mackintosh is one person who knows how tough it is to catch an urban coyote; he’s the manager of wildlife for the city of Vancouver.

“You aren’t going to get rid of them,” Mackintosh said. “There have been attempts to eradicate coyotes in certain areas for a hundred years and it is pretty much an ineffective process.”

Using box traps to capture the coyote will not work, as Mackintosh believes the species is too smart to be lured.

“It is an extremely difficult process,” he said. “Coyotes are highly intelligent and recognize threats very, very quickly. Traditional box traps and that sort of thing for the most part, have very little effectiveness.”

According to Mackintosh, coyotes can adapt very easily to any surrounding.

“They become habituated to the environment particularly over time and particularly if there is human encouragement,” he said. “This is not a stupid animal. They pick up and understand very quickly what the threats are and where the opportunities lie.”

Both rural and city coyotes have most of the same traits, but the latter usually has a better diet.

“They are both much the same in terms of they are fast and will take what they can get,” he said. “Out in the wild they are going to have to forage on a more natural basis. In the city, there is garbage to be found, there are house cats, there are rats … life is a lot easier in the city.”

As far as living spaces go, urban coyotes can make use of any open or deserted type of land.

“Denning can be done in anything. They don’t require huge amounts of habitat. A ravine, a piece of unused land, some available green space…city parks, golf courses,” he said.

Jolanta Kowalski from the Ministry of Natural Resources Communications Services Branch says that although some news outlets have reported that the coyote has been caught, it continues to roam the east Toronto ravines south of Kingston Road all the way to Lake Ontario.

But Mackintosh believes that coexisting with this creature is easy as long as people are informed.

“Give people the tools to deal with them and make people understand what needs to be done in order to keep yourself and your pets safe,” he said.

Filed by Ciaran Thompson

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Posted: Apr 24 2009 6:54 am
Filed under: News