Coyotes and Live Trapping, An Addendum

As if it wasn’t long enough, I wanted to make a side-note on the most recent post about coyotes. Many people suggest live trapping and relocation as a viable option for “controlling” coyotes, but it turns out that live trapping is bad news for our canid friend.

For one, imagine if someone put you in a box and when they let you out, you were in another state. You might not know where to find food or water. Coyote packs have their territories staked out to the tee: they know where their prey lives, when their prey is active, where it eats and drinks, etc. They know where the water is, where the best hiding places are, where the edges of their territory meets the edge of another pack’s territory, and so on. Placing a coyote into a completely foreign land removes all of these securities from him, and mammals can’t go very long without reliable sources of food and water. This kind of extreme stress for any animal makes them more prone to illness.

Next, being removed from one’s pack and put into the territory of a different pack – or even a pack of wolves, which hunt coyotes – is obviously dangerous to the coyote. Loners do not last long. “Transients,” as lone coyotes are often called, are in exile for one reason or another and are typically not accepted into a pack. They certainly aren’t accepted into a competing pack. So they either manage to survive in exile, or the competing pack may kill them.

Coyotes want to get back to their families. Like humans, being removed from their families without any way of communicating leaves them in chaos. Relocated coyotes often attempt to return to their home territories, which is tens or hundreds of miles away. They succumb to car strikes on busy roads, ranchers with guns, or other deaths, simply trying to find their way home.

So, while live trapping seems like a humane method of predator control, it really doesn’t work with canids. In fact, it could mean death as readily as any of the intentionally lethal methods for the individual. And, again, the pack at home suffers after the loss of a family member.

Thanks for reading!

Posted on September 8, 2010, in Biology/Ecology, Connected Living, Fauna and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Coyotes and Live Trapping, An Addendum.

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