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Coyote-killing program stopped by public outcry

By Gary Bogue
Friday, January 21st, 2011 at 7:26 am in Animal welfare, coyotes, Project Coyote.

Coyote photo by Camilla Fox, Project Coyote, Larkspur, CA
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Coalition of Wildlife Conservation Organizations Praise Arcadia, Calif.,  City Council’s Unanimous Decision to End $30,000 Annual Contract to Snare & Kill Resident Coyotes

I just received the following information from my friend Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote in Larkspur, Calif. Please read it carefully. If you think you have a similar program where you live, get in touch with Camilla (cfox@projectcoyote.org) so she can advise you on how to put an end to it. Thanks for caring. /Gary

NEWS RELEASE:
Arcadia, California — A coalition of national and local organizations including Project Coyote, the San Gabriel Friends of Wildlife, the Animal Welfare Institute, and the Angeles Chapter of Sierra Club, praised the Arcadia, Calif.,  City Council for their unanimous vote Tuesday night, Jan. 18, to end the city’s coyote trapping program by the end of the month.

Coyote photograph by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
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Public outcry against the program that costs residents more than $30,000 each year led to the council’s decision to hold a special “study session” to consider whether to continue the city’s contract with Animal Pest Management Services.

“We commend the City Council for voting unanimously to stop a coyote snaring program that is ultimately ineffective, ecologically unsound, and inhumane,” said Camilla Fox, Executive Director of Project Coyote and Wildlife Consultant with the Animal Welfare Institute.  “We have offered our services and resources to the city to help them move forward with a long-term outreach program to inform residents about how to coexist with coyotes and other urban wildlife,” said Fox. “Education and a consistent message is key in informing residents about living with urban wildlife and we commend the city for starting to expand its outreach efforts.”

Coyote photograph by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
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After learning of the city’s $30,000 annual contract with the private wildlife removal firm which employs wire neck snares and has killed 20 coyotes to date, local residents gathered more than 1,000 signatures calling on the City Council to end its contract with Animal Pest Management Services. They asked the city instead to adopt and implement a long-term coexistence and management plan as other municipalities and counties have done including Marin County, Denver, and Vancouver.

“Most people had no idea their tax-dollars were being spent to trap and kill native wildlife,” said Bonnie Barron of the San Gabriel Valley Friends of Wildlife. “When they learned about this most were shocked and readily signed our petition to stop the indiscriminate killing.  Some were so moved that they came and testified at Tuesday night’s study session including 15 Arcadia residents.”

San Gabriel Valley Friends of Wildlife, along with Pasadena Humane Society, Project Coyote, and the Animal Welfare Institute organized a free public educational forum, ”Coyotes in our Midst”, on November 30 at the LA County Arboretum which attracted more than 250 attendees.

Reading a statement on behalf of Project Coyote and the Sierra Club’s Endangered Species and Wildlife Committee (Angeles Chapter) for which she chairs, Dr. Rosemarie White stated that “Studies show that local coyote populations may actually increase as a direct result of lethal control; as pup survival and immigration of coyotes from surrounding areas increase to fill the vacant territorial niches … Coyotes actually serve a vital ecological role by helping to reduce rodent populations and by keeping ecosystems clean of carrion. In addition, coyotes help to keep mesopredators such as foxes, raccoons, skunks and opossums in check thereby helping to boost ground and songbird abundance and diversity.”

Dr. White also sits on the National Sierra Club’s Wildlife and Endangered Species Committee which helps to set wildlife policy for the entire organization.

“Arcadia has the opportunity to follow the lead of other progressive jurisdictions and continue the trend to coexist with urban wildlife and we will help them toward this goal in any way we can,” said Fox.

For further information or to learn more about coexisting with coyotes visit http://www.ProjectCoyote.org or call San Gabriel Valley Friends of Wildlife @ 626-737-6171

Coyote howling. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
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*** PROJECT COYOTE is a national non-profit organization of scientists and educators promoting coexistence between people and coyotes and advocating on behalf of North America’s native Song Dog and other wildlife. More information: http://www.ProjectCoyote.org

*** SAN GABRIEL FRIENDS OF WILDLIFE based in Pasadena is a local organization that seeks to educate residents about how to coexist with urban wildlife within the San Gabriel Mountain region of Southern California. More information: 626-737-6171

*** THE ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 to alleviate the suffering caused to animals by humans. More information: http://www.awionline.org

*** THE ANGELES CHAPTER OF THE SIERRA CLUB is the largest chapter of the Sierra Club with over 60,000 members from Los Angeles and Orange Counties. More information: http://www.angeles.sierraclub.org

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