The Humane Society of the United States applauded the city of Wheaton, Ill., for taking a major step toward humanely addressing conflicts between people and coyotes. At Monday’s meeting, the Wheaton City Council approved a new policy which focuses on educating residents, managing trash and other items that attract coyotes, collecting coyote sighting data, and using proven nonlethal techniques of aversive conditioning to deter coyotes who have become too bold.
This March, the city faced public outcry when it hired a trapper to kill coyotes in response to pet attacks. Five coyotes were trapped and killed, but the city is once again flooded with coyote complaints, suggesting that the lethal approach is not an effective long-term solution.
“We are very pleased to see Wheaton adopt a more humane plan focused on changing human behavior through education and reforming coyote behavior through aversive conditioning,” said Lynsey White Dasher, urban wildlife specialist for The HSUS. “This is the right approach, rather than relying on an endless cycle of killing–which is both costly and unnecessary.”
The HSUS encourages the city of Wheaton to take prioritize coyote hazing techniques over trapping and killing. Killing coyotes doesn’t work because vacated territories are quickly filled by new coyotes. Hazing, however, teaches coyotes what behaviors are not acceptable. This has a ripple effect as young coyotes learn from their parents what is safe or not safe to do.
Communities such as Denver, Colo., have achieved remarkable success using non-lethal deterrence programs.
- Coyote hazing helps restore the fear of humans back into habituated coyotes. Hazing involves the systematic use of deterrents such as noisemakers, projectiles and water hoses.
- For tips on how you can prevent coyote conflicts and protect your pets, visit humanesociety.org/animals/coyotes/tips/solving_problems_coyotes.html.
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