CWC Municipal Framework

Coyote Watch Canada has developed an excellent coexistence program for the City of Niagara Falls that highlights what a compassionate wildlife community looks like. The City of Niagara Falls is now considered a flagship model for other communities to follow when considering a Coyote (Wildlife) Management Strategy. The Eastern Coyote (coyote) is here to stay. Providing the public and media outlets with accurate coyote information, along with education and safety guidelines effectively enhances our sustainable approach while minimizing human and wildlife conflict.

Compassionate conservation science and wildlife safety and education are the basis for any successful community and wildlife mitigation responses.  These expectations are the very foundation of our Wildlife Strategy Framework (WSF). The four cornerstones of the WSF are Investigation, Education, Prevention and Enforcement. A WSF encourages and supports community wildlife resiliency.

Our WSF presents successful, non-lethal alternatives available to every community that are long term, cost effective and that promote safety for children, wildlife and family pets. Coexisting with wildlife and meeting the challenges that are occurring in a community warrant a commitment from all stakeholders.

Why is our WSF successful?

The indiscriminate killing of coyotes disrupts stable pack structure and does not help to identify or change the human activities that attract coyotes into areas where conflict is occurring. Coyote sightings can be linked to foraging for food and territorial behaviour. Short term lethal actions such as trapping and hunting, do not address critical issues that may be inherent in a community. Killing coyotes provides a vacancy in the habitat encouraging a new coyote or several, to move in.

Conducting an immediate coyote sighting investigation to determine accurate findings, educating residents about coyote/human interaction, minimizing attractants and teaching how to safely coexist is a much more effective approach than utilizing tax money to trap and kill coyotes. Ecologically, we cannot “rid” our rural and urban landscapes of this intelligent, family oriented and highly adaptable species. Like it or not, they are here to stay. Trapping one coyote essentially leaves a void in the once occupied territory, allowing for another or perhaps two new coyotes to move in. Removing the breeding adult alpha coyote pair from a stable pack opens breeding up to younger and more inexperienced animals increasing an unstable coyote population. Alpha pairs keep order in the pack and regulate the population for their specific territory. Paying money to trap and kill coyotes has never resolved human/wildlife conflict and coyote populations typically rebound. This rebound effect can be observed in Belleville, Ontario. This community embarked on a trapping program three years ago. Where are they today? Trapping is still taking place and there is a measurable increase in the coyote population. This costly initiative has failed. Wasted money and wasted lives.

Keystone predators such as coyotes keep other animal populations in check. Coyotes also act as nature’s cleanup crew by ridding the landscape of natural by-products such as carrion (dead animals). Coyotes are the epitome of a reliable “eco-thermometer” for any community in which they inhabit. They put us all on notice when they get too comfortable around people because of human feeding. In other words, things are not working as they should. We need to listen.

The absence of coyotes in the landscape can have a negative effect for farmers with an increase in crop damage by smaller mammals such as rodents, rabbits, and raccoons. The mishandling of garbage and green bin composting, the feeding of wildlife, lack of immediate dead stock removal, baiting to hunt coyotes, mishandling of road kill and feeding pets (feral cats) outdoors influences how wildlife responds and interacts with people and pets. All of these mitigating factors can be prevented through direct education, awareness objectives and by-law enforcement. The WSF creates a coexistence program that supports direct collaborative partnerships and open communication between residents, volunteers and local agencies.

Coyote sightings do not necessarily reflect an increase in their population but more importantly can serve as an indicator that people are intentionally or unintentionally feeding wildlife. Attracting target animals to a backyard feeder such as birds, squirrels and deer also invites other species such as coyotes to drop in too. Keeping our coyote wild- avoiding humans and allowing them access to their natural prey not human hand-outs are our best approach. Enforcement tools such as a feeding wildlife by-law provide preventative and educational guidelines for the public on how to safely live with coyotes.

Simple adjustments such as wildlife proofing tips for homeowners and ensuring pets are safely leashed and never left outdoors unattended can prevent negative pet and wildlife encounters. Hazing coyotes that have increased their proximity tolerance to humans due to feeding is a very effective method for reshaping appropriate coyote behaviour. Hazing techniques are effectively practiced by CWC volunteers for the City of Niagara Falls and in other municipalities. Stanley Park, Vancouver has also been hazing coyotes successfully for many years.

There are sensible and compassionate strategies that can be put in place that provide communities with non-lethal approaches that encourage coexistence between people, pets and coyotes. Tools such as Feeding Wildlife By-Laws and enforcing pet leash by-laws minimize encounters. Anthropogenic food sources must be eliminated. Accurate and swift investigations conducted by experienced volunteers when the media sensationalizes conflicts exposes that the greatest ‘risk’ to humans are humans themselves. Every case in conflict Coyote Watch Canada Field representatives have investigated has involved the precursor of people feeding wildlife (coyotes) which impacts coyote behaviour.

The measurable success of our four cornerstone framework of the WSF; prevention, education, investigation and enforcement to minimize negative interactions between coyotes and people is worth consideration.  Compassionate education and coexistence initiatives work! Community engagement with positive solutions to keep coyotes (and other wildlife WILD) and provide long term steps in celebrating the presence of Coyote in our landscape is something to strive for. Become the next leader in progressive coexistence by contacting us today for a consultation.

How wildlife resilient is your community? Review our checklist and see if your community is on the right track.

What to do if you have a coyote encounter

Never run from a coyote or a domestic dog. This brings out the ‘chase’ and/or play instinct in wild and domestic dogs. Never harass, harm or allow a companion pet to chase wildlife. If a coyote is observed in a natural setting- Leave it be! When exploring outdoors remember to leave no trace- Carry out all food wrappers, leftovers and that includes dog feces.

Stop moving forward. Pick up small children and dogs.

Stand still. Then using quick, bold and surprise gestures…

Shout and wave your arms (Never scream- use an assertive shout. Stomp feet, appear big, angry and loud). Low intensity hazing can be used (throwing an object towards the coyote such as a shake can, stick, rock or pop an umbrella).

Slowly back away maintaining eye contact.

Share the experience. Report coyote sightings. Encouraging thoughtful dialogue about wildlife sightings or encounters helps us learn from an experience and identify potential attractants. Hazing is an effective strategy that can teach coyotes ‘escape conditioning’- to maintain a healthy and appropriate distance from people and pets.

For additional resources or interested in our coexistence community tools: hazing, wildlife encounters, prevention/safety or to book a Coyote Watch Canada presentation, please contact the coyote hotline number 905-931-2610.

We make available free downloadable pamphlets and other resources such as our municipal sign design contact us at coyotewatchcanada@gmail.com.

How do we know coyotes live near us?

We may see them at dusk or dawn and sometimes even during daylight hours.
Coyotes are busy all year around especially during mating season- late winter and pup rearing time- spring.

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Coyotes communicate by their unique yips, howls, barks or a high pitched midnight chorus called a vocalization.

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Coyotes leave paw prints behind called tracks.

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Marking Territory

They also mark their territory by other signs such as scent marking and scat like their cousin, the domestic dog.

Scent Marking and Scat

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Learn More

For helpful tips and successful strategies for living with coyotes in the community visit the City of Niagara Falls – Information about living with Coyotes and coyote/fox sighting report forms .

Compassionate Wildlife Community (CWC) – Latest hot off the press free Coyote Educational Literature from Coyote Watch Canada