Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

If you are in the Toronto area, or enjoy reading newspapers from great Canadian cities, then you will have heard of the perceived coyote problem in our downtown core.  Two weeks ago, a lone coyote was seen running though the Riverdale area.  If you are not familiar with Toronto, Riverdale is a downtown neighbourhood, that is close to ravines and the Don River.  People choose to live there to have the benefits of the “best of both worlds”.  The coyote was not doing anything wrong, just running through some front yards, probably scavenging for garbage.  Someone saw the little beast and called the police, who subsequently came to the area and shot the coyote claiming that it was behaving in an aggressive manner.  Great!  Another one bites the dust!  

Fast forward one week to a gentleman in the Beaches area (another area surrounded by green space) who let his little maltese dog out for his evening constitutional.  Out of the bushes, right in his own backyard, a coyote jumped out, grabbed the dog and ran away with it.  When the owner gave chase, the coyote dropped the puppy who later had to be humanely euthanized due to his injuries.

And just yesterday, again in the beaches area, a coyote was seen wandering across some front lawns.  And just as happens every year at just about this time, the community is up in arms.  

“We must cull the coyotes” 

“We must trap them and kill them”

“Call the police to shoot them”

Really people?  You chose to live in those neighbourhoods because they offer you the green space you so desire.  And one of the things that comes along with green space is wildlife, another reason you bought your home in that sought after neighbourhood.  “Its like living in the country!”  Yes, if you are lucky enough, it is like living in the country.  And in the country, things happen, and you expect them to happen because you are in the country.  As it happens, we are just at the beginning of mating season.  Those sexy little females are giving off pheromones that would make a grown coyote give chase….and give chase they do!

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It is this time of year, just like every year previous that we see the coyotes out of their usual secretive habitats.  Why do we have to kill these beautiful animals just because they may make some people nervous?  There has never been a recorded attack by a coyote in the city or suburbs of Toronto.  Where I sit now, overlooking my street in a cozy little neighbourhood just north of the city, I have a fox that wanders down my street every night of the week, winter or summer.  Those in the neighbourhood who own small dogs keep a more vigilant watch then those of us with big dogs, but the general commentary is “wow, did you see that beautiful fox”.  We have foxes, coyotes, large owls that could pick up a small dog or cat, deer, raccoons, skunks and all other assortment of wildlife, and all this just 20 minutes from downtown.  And most of us are thrilled that we get to be a part of their lives.  Thrilled that nature has opened a little window that most city dwellers don’t get to see.  So stop calling for a kill, start watching your pets and being careful, and sit back and enjoy the show.

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