START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
2,484,671 people care about Environment & Wildlife

Coexisting in the City: Coyotes and Humans Meet and Mingle

Coexisting in the City: Coyotes and Humans Meet and Mingle

 

In San Francisco, wild animals, namely coyotes, have increasingly been making themselves at home with their human cohabitants.  Some postulate the increase in coyotes is due to an ever-encroaching human population, leaving coyotes little natural space for themselves.  Others attribute the influx to a city that protects the animal in addition to an ample food supply; coyotes, scavengers, can rummage through garbage, although they typically tend to shy away from humans.

It’s now spring however, and tensions are rising as coyotes, like many other species, are a bit more aggressive this time of year raising young and defending their den.  This brings a whole new layer of dilemma to the City by the Bay as more and more residents are complaining that coyotes are impacting their ability to keep their dogs off-leash and are fearful of any possible confrontation with the wild animal.

As an overall precaution, Golden Gate Park, the area of the city where coyotes mainly reside, has “Coyote alert” signs and posters around areas where coyotes have been spotted, as well as signs advising dog owners to keep their pets on leash.  According to Rebecca Katz, director of the city’s Animal Care and Control, while reports of coyotes killing dogs have been received, none of them have been substantiated.  Ms. Katz says that “some of [the complaints] we don’t know how real [they are] and how much of it is people raising the hysteria level.”

There have also been cases of the reverse happening: domesticated dogs (and their owners) harassing coyotes. According to the NYTimes, SF Animal Care “posted a video on YouTube of an off-leash Rottweiler, filmed by his owner, harassing two coyotes apparently protecting a den.”  This type of blatant taunting exemplifies the worst of both worlds and does not make a strong case for dog owners who complain of coyotes in the Park.

Nonetheless, coyotes aren’t the only wild animal migrating into our neighborhoods.  Black bears have also become more and more comfortable around humans as demonstrated in the increasing black bear population in western Massachusetts. Northampton, Mass, in particular, has experienced a sharp spike in bear activity where “almost everyone, it seems, has a bear story.”  Black bears, like coyotes, typically shy away from humans, but will grow more and more accustomed to human activity through exposure and time.

Whether or not coexisting with wild animals – beyond song birds – in an urban environment is a good thing is yet to be determined, although being able to coexist with nature overall is increasingly shown to enhance cognition, decrease disease and depression and improve mood.  Clearly, humans are not the only species to call this planet home and it’s high time we shared a bit of space.

Still, both sides of the story have their opinion: those that don’t mind, and in fact welcome nature into their urban dwellings, and those who are not so thrilled. What remains to be seen is how a city like San Francisco will manage a growing coyote population within its limited city parameters.

To accommodate this anticipated population growth and mobility, as well as the mobility of other urban-dwelling species, Green Connections, a city planning effort to increase access to parks, open space and the waterfront through various “green connectors,” aims to also take into account wildlife corridors to ensure urban-based wildlife can safely get from one region of the city to another.  As a safety precaution for animals and humans alike, this effort would be a welcome blend of both worlds and would promote a level of coexistence rarely seen in a major global city.  After all, these wily coyotes will want to venture out of Golden Gate Park eventually. It’s how we deal with their natural tendencies and presence that’s the real question.

 

Related Stories:

Urban Wildlife

Biophilic Cities: Nature Meets Urban

Utah Doubles Bounty for Coyotes

 

Read more: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

103 comments

+ add your own
7:29PM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

thanks

6:02AM PDT on May 28, 2012

thanks for sharing :)

3:19AM PDT on May 23, 2012

The feral cat problem should be addressed with trap, spay/neuter, release programs. This works. And of course, by responsible ownership-spay or neuter your cat.

Coyotes are intelligent and extremely adaptive and as pointed out in a previous comment, are leaving the wooded areas, which are abundant. They've moved into cities where, for these "wily" hunters and scavengers, the pickin's are easy. A coyote trotted across my yard at 2:00 in the afternoon, picked up one of my free range hens and ran off. Not a happy day for me but a bountiful day for her and her pups.

11:40PM PDT on May 21, 2012

Sadly, when nature meets with humans, nature loses.

9:50AM PDT on May 21, 2012

It's man's fault, why cant we humans get our s *** together ?

1:13PM PDT on May 20, 2012

I just saw a little coyote crossing the road in Griffith Park this week. It was an unexpected treat. However, I would not take my little dog there or any other location with known wild animals because she is vulnerable. I'd be okay taking my larger dogs there.

5:36AM PDT on May 20, 2012

We have had validated attacks on pets here in GA but it is usually due to humans not supervising their pets in the backyard. I always stay with my little ones if it is dark out. Coyotes are very loud and vocal so it would be difficult not to be warned and they are night scavengers so do not leave pets out alone at night. Humans always resort to killing as a solution when a little vigilance and common sense will do the trick.

9:53AM PDT on May 19, 2012

I think that humans and animals can co-exist if humans are respectful of animals and make sure that they remove rubbish and make sure that there gardens are safe, so animals do not get injured.

9:42AM PDT on May 19, 2012

Humans have been living with wild animals from the beginning of human habitation. Rat, mice, pigeons have found living with humans to be very good. Now that our population have reached 7 BILLION and GROWING, we are now pushing into other wild animal habitat. It is we who are building our homes in cougar, bear, deer territory. It is now us that is moving into their homes. We need to accommodate their needs for migration and room and privacy. We need to stop the encroachment into the wild. We need to build our cities up, NOT out. we than need to reduce our population. I and my family are doing our part. We all are having less than replacement.

8:57AM PDT on May 19, 2012

OH NOOO!!!!!

POOR guys....

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

Governments simply don't care. From what I have seen going on they are so focused on economy anything…

Thank you ! I wish Danielle and Mister D to have many wonderful years ahead !!!

ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK

Children

Civil Rights

Education

Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights

Politics

Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.