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'Street-Wise Coyotes Find a Home in L.A.'

July 06, 1985

The article (June 2), "Street-Wise Coyotes Find a Home in L.A.," contains misleading and inflammatory statements defaming this animal's character. Coyotes, before persecution by man, were daytime animals, eating rats, mice, ground squirrels and fruits as well as carrion. They are nature's sanitation crew. Today they still eat rats, etc. and dead things like cats killed by cars, but are blamed for the killing.

They are smart and opportunistic--like man. They have flourished despite bullets, poisons, burning of their pups in dens, traps and cyanide guns. Considering their adaptability and loyalty (staying with a mate caught in a vicious trap, both parents caring for young, often mating for life--how many humans do that?) they deserve their niche, and I say, let man get out of their way!

Irresponsible pet owners caused 22,100 dog bites in Los Angeles County in 1982, yet one coyote encounter is cause for alarm. That the city has for so long trapped and coyotes continue is because the city missed the biological facts printed in responsible literature as well as spoken by Prof. William Wirtz, an expert from Pomona College. When coyotes are killed in an area, other coyotes produce more offspring and fill the void. If left alone the numbers would stabilize.

By removing animals that have done no harm to humans or pets you invite new coyotes unfamiliar with the area and more likely to go for an occasional cat. Pet food often entices the coyotes into the yard. Wirtz discovered tinfoil and chicken bones in the stomachs of coyotes he examined (those killed by cars and trappers). Look around your area; see the trash cans overflowing with no lids. More rats are also invited, attracting coyotes!

Any coyote "problems" are human-caused and can be and should be human-corrected in ways utilizing learned naturalists, and educating the public--a nonviolent approach that will work.

ED SIMPSON

South Pasadena

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