January 28, 2008 —NORTH GOWER— Although coyotes have been spotted in urban Ottawa, there is no need to panic. It is very understandable that people may be alarmed when what is perceived as an aggressive wild carnivore wanders into an urban setting. Although there may be cases where certain coyotes cause true problems, coyotes are not normally ferocious, dangerous animals. They suffer more from bad publicity than bad tempers. They are naturally fearful of humans and generally do not pose a threat to human safety. By becoming knowledgeable on the ways to prevent coyote conflicts with humans, pets and livestock, we hope to co-exist with these intelligent, adaptable creatures. Since coyotes roaming urban neighborhoods are likely looking for food, make your property inhospitable to all wild animals and stray dogs by locking away your garbage and pet food, and keeping your small pets indoors or on-leash when on walks. If you see a coyote in your back yard, wave your hands, make loud noises or throw objects in their direction to let them know that your property is not friendly territory. Warn your children not to approach any wild animal or unfamiliar pet. Even if you sympathize with the plight of these wild animals, please do not feed or encourage encounters with coyotes. If coyotes become less fearful of humans or pets, other people may see them as nuisance or aggressive animals, which could lead to trapping and their deaths. So please keep your distance and admire them from afar. We want to keep the “wild” in wildlife. Trapping and relocating coyotes is not the answer. Relocating wildlife is rarely effective for any adult species but particularly for coyotes and wolves, where unfamiliar environment, stress and competition with local wildlife can result in their death. Also, removal or eradication of coyotes simply opens up the territory for others to move in and may even increase breeding rates and litter sizes. Through effective education and management techniques, we hope to avoid trapping and removal of coyotes in the Ottawa area. For further information on coyotes, we recommend the following website links:
- Ontario SPCA provides a fact sheet on coyote behaviour and tips on keeping your property and pets safe
- Urban Coyote Ecology and Management in Chicago provides a 30-page (but concise) document with details on coyote behaviour in an urban environment and wildlife management tips: Urban-Coyote-Ecology-and-Management.pdf
- Coyotes in Our Midst: Coexisting with an Adaptable and Resilient Carnivore provides extensive strategies for managing livestock conflicts.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like further information: Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary Wildlife Hotline: 613-258-9480 The Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is a volunteer-based, registered charity (#827317744RR0001) based in North Gower. Founded in April 2005, the Sanctuary’s mission is to rehabilitate injured, sick or orphaned wild mammals and return them to the wild. The Sanctuary also works to raise awareness on peacefully coexisting with our wild neighbours and provides humane solutions to human-wildlife conflicts.