Kill Los Angeles County’s coyotes or learn to live with them?

There is a battle going on between Project Coyote advocates and the red T-shirt wearing members of Evict Coyotes. They represent two sides of the coin on how to deal with the resourceful Los Angeles County coyote who has been there 47,000 years but is now in perpetual conflict with the citizens of Los Angeles who ponder how to stop the wily coyote.

The general gist of the long article by Louis SahagĂșn, a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, is that the citizens of Los Angeles have taken up polarised viewpoints on how best to deal with this urban predator.

LA County coyote, a resourceful urban predator
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful

LA County coyote, a resourceful urban predator. Image: MikeB

The urban coyote can prey on indoor/outdoor domestic cats and often catch them to eat. But they don’t always catch them. Some escape to live another day but I my research many domestic cats are killed by coyotes. At one time people thought that human serial cat killers were killing domestic cats, but the better theory now is that it is coyotes.

And between 2012 and 2022, at least 69 people have been bitten by coyotes in Los Angeles County. About half of them in communities east of downtown according to the County Department of Public Health.

They say that most of the attacks are unprovoked, and victims include a child playing with friends and a jogger or two people sitting on the ground minding their own business.

They are not sure what provokes a coyote to attack humans like this. They speculate that some coyotes have lost their fear of humans. And perhaps they’re just being territorial, and they want humans out of the way because this is their territory.

RELATED: How to haze coyotes which is necessary in Florida where they are booming.

Advocates, who state that LA citizens should learn to live with them and manage them, argue that “they are not a threat to public safety”. These are the thoughts of Victoria Munroe, a conflict programs coordinator at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Coyotes have managed to survive despite federal extermination campaigns in the 19th century. Their survival sensors are always on maximum.

Those that want to in effect exterminate coyotes are members of the Evict Coyotes group. It was organised four years ago in Torrance, a city on LA county, and the group is active in various districts of Los Angeles including Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes, Glendora, Escondido and Fullerton.

The group and another called Project Coyote Lies are frustrated with coyote management. They believe that advocates of humane coyote management have an ideal which is impractical and unrealistic.

The man who started up Project Coyote Lies is an ex-military veteran and hunter called Steven Childs. He wants communities to decide what to do with coyotes and what is appropriate or inappropriate behaviour. He also wants a “state-wide coyote management plan that is grounded in science”.

Coyote advocates say that their plans are grounded in science. Michelle Lute, a spokesman for the non-profit Project Coyote said: “The coyote management practices we recommend are based on the best available science. But they fall on deaf ears in a room full of Evict Coyote redshirts.”

The two opposing groups are at odds about how to deal with this resourceful predator. Anti-cruelty campaigners say that coyotes are so resilient it is impossible to meaningfully control numbers and therefore killing them is unnecessarily inhumane and vicious.

RELATED: Can cats fight off coyotes? Yes, sometimes.

The city of Torrance has an ongoing project which kills one coyote a week with a lethal injection. It is a trap and kill project costing $70,000 a year. The City Councillor behind it, Aurelio Mattucci, said: “I want to be able to enjoy my backyard without having to worry about a child being attacked. It might be rare, but one attack is one too many”.

Los Angeles County cannot formulate a coherent approach on how to deal with the coyote. It actually reminds me of the feral cat problem. This problem also generates a polarised attitude amongst the citizens of many communities in America and also amongst their representatives sitting on city councils.

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