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Saving Coyotes’ Lives
Scientist Marc Bekoff advises people to keep coyotes away from their homes.
Dr. Marc Bekoff with a coyote.

When coyotes lose their fear of people, their lives are in danger. The more these wild animals come into contact with people, the more likely they are to be shot by authorities who face enormous pressure to prevent people and pets from being hurt by coyotes.

With that in mind, behavioral ecologist Marc Bekoff, who has studied coyotes for decades, urges people to do what they can to keep coyotes away from their homes. This advice applies to people who live out in the country as well as urban and suburban dwellers. Coyotes can exist in all of these areas.

To keep coyotes from being attracted to your residence, Bekoff recommends keeping your pets on leash, covering your garbage and never feeding them. Coyotes can be frightened away with loud sounds such as a whistle, shouting or a can of pennies.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, coyotes are much safer when they are fearful of people. Simple steps such as preventing them from being attracted to areas where people live and by scaring them away if they do approach can be life-saving for coyotes.

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Carolyn | June 17 2009 |

NPR has a story today about some 2000 coyotes living in Chicago -- amazing!

While it is wonderful to see wildlife and feel a connection, in my experience, usually it is to the detriment of that animal to interact too closely with humans. I'd have to agree with Dr. Bekoff.

And wildlife/dog interactions don't often go well either -- the dog or the wild animal is too often harassed or injured or becomes too habituated for safety.

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