Complexities of urban coyote management: reaching theunreachable, teaching the unteachable, and touching the untouchable
Urban Coyote Management
Wildlife Damage Management Working Groupof The Wildlife Society
Urban coyote (Canis latrans) management is often complicated, but the technical portion of any management program is only one part of the equation. The use of lethal (traps, snares, shooting, toxicants) and non-lethal (exclusion, guard animals, husbandry practices, harassment) coyote management strategies can be successful, less than successful, or not successful depending on the appropriate match of technical skill and technology available in a particular situation. However, technical sophistication is only a portion of the management dilemma. Issues of policy, law, politics, and economics, as well as human values, attitudes, and ethics play an obvious and profound role in shaping the development, implementation, evaluation, and eventual success or failure of coyote damage management programs. Urban coyote management programs are not immune to these influences. I describe how I teach university students about coyote management. I approach the classroom with the philosophy of teaching students how to think, not what to say or do. This involves giving them detailed information, and all of it. For urban coyote issues, students tended to be compassionate and realistic, yet still preferred less than lethal strategies. I discuss “the wildlifer’s lament,” or why we wish we could educate the public. People are exposed to many messages about wildlife, and most of these messages are not coming from wildlife management professionals. Although wildlifers wish they could educate the public, in most cases, they cannot.
Schmidt, R. H. 2008. Complexities of urban coyote management: reaching the unreachable, teaching the unteachable, and touching the untouchable. Pages 55-58 in R. M. Timm, ed. Urban Coyote Management, Wildlife Damage Management Working Group of The Wildlife Society, Collierville, TN. (reprint)