Burlington’s fourth coyote eliminated, wildlife groups believe encounters were preventable
Published on September 27, 2022 at 09:44
A fourth coyote has been killed in south central Burlington as the city continues to deal with unprovoked attacks on people.
And two wildlife groups question whether the City is handling things the best way possible.
Coyote Watch Canada and the Fur-Bearers, two environmental activist groups, believe these encounters were preventable and that killing coyotes will not address the root causes currently present in the community.
As early as 2014, Coyote Watch Canada reached out to the City of Burlington about issues related to wildlife feeding, attractants, and preventing negative encounters for residents.
They say hundreds of hours of field investigation and mitigation exposed wildlife feeding at multiple sites, but the city has taken no action to resolve those locations. Many of these places are still hotspots today.
In 2017, The Fur-Bearers and Coyote Watch Canada sent a letter to council, highlighting the urgent need to address chronic wildlife feeding in city parks.
“The following year, representatives from both organizations conducted investigations of known wildlife feeding sites to find that again none of these histories had been addressed,” said Michael Howie, director of communications. for The Fur Bearers.
Footage of food left for wildlife in the same area where recent negative encounters occurred was discussed with the city in May 2022, according to Howie.
“Feeding wildlife changes animal behavior. Food rewards are commonplace for dog trainers. Rewarding a targeted behavior with food will result in continued manifestations of that behavior. The chronic feeding of wildlife, and in particular coyotes, has taught wildlife to approach people expecting a food reward.
In a 2018 letter to council, it was noted that squirrels, chipmunks, waterfowl and other animals, all of which generally keep their distance from humans, follow residents into parks.
“That this behavior was also taught to coyotes is not surprising and was entirely preventable.”
The City is now considering stronger enforcement of food-related bylaws and allocating more resources to the issue.
“We commend them for these proactive measures and hope they will be prioritized in their response strategy policy going forward. That said, killing coyotes in Burlington (especially when there is no publicly available evidence that coyotes killed so far have been involved in negative encounters) will not change the human behavior causing these issues Immediate field investigations and proactive actions that provide residents with information on best practices regarding properties wildlife-proofing; the importance of reporting feed to the City with tracking results; and understanding seasonal milestones for canids are fundamental and essential foundations for countering lethal reactions.
Coyote Watch Canada is an all-volunteer non-profit, community-based wildlife organization that promotes positive human-wildlife experiences with a focus on conservation, community outreach, education, research and conflict resolution. .
The Fur-Bearers is a non-partisan charity, founded in 1953, that protects fur-bearing animals through conservation, advocacy, research and education.
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