Date of this Version
The author explores the issue of urban coyotes and coyote management from a cat owner’s perspective, with specific examples from Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Following a personal encounter with two coyotes in July 2005 that led to the death of a cat, the author has delved into the history of Vancouver’s “Co-existing with Coyotes”, a government-funded program run by a nonprofit ecological society. The policy’s roots in conservation biology, the environmental movement, and the human dimensions branch of wildlife management are documented. The author contends that “Co-existing with Coyotes” puts people and pets at greater risk of attack by its inadequate response to habituated coyotes, and by an educational component that misrepresents real dangers and offers unworkable advice. The environmental impact of domestic cats is addressed. The author makes the case that generalized opinions about the negative effects of cats on songbird populations and other wildlife, and assertions that urban coyotes are beneficial, are unsupported by objective experimental data. When environmentalists, who predominantly hold these views, also research, promote, and oversee urban wildlife policy, there is a consequent lack of interest in restricting coyote populations in cities, along with little concern for the fate of outdoor cats and even a desire for their depredation.