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September 17, 2013

Coyote Siblings Get Second Chance

Coyote pups saved after human-wildlife conflict threatens their lives

  • Days after arriving at the Center, the pups cozy up in a donated fur coat. The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center

  • One of the four juvenile coyotes waits patiently to be released. Calli McKenna/The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center

  • Free at last! One of the juvenile coyotes runs towards his new home. Calli McKenna/The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center

The Rancho Mirage community in Southern California provides the perfect environment for populations of coyotes and their pups to thrive—uncovered pools, fruit trees, and open trash containers are an invitation for hungry or thirsty coyotes. Unfortunately, this situation presents an increased opportunity for human-wildlife conflict, which is just what happened a few months ago in June.

A family disrupted
Several community residents, growing frustrated with the presence of coyotes, hired trappers to capture and kill coyotes who were found living in the golf course community. In one instance, four healthy coyote pups were separated from their mother, but their lives were spared when concerned citizens, animal control, and staff from the Living Desert Zoo cooperated to safely trap and remove them from harm’s way.

Read more about peaceful solutions to human-wildlife conflicts»

Too young to survive on their own in the wild, the four coyote pups were transferred to The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center where they could receive species-specific care and rehabilitation. At the Center, the pups joined five more orphaned and injured juvenile coyotes, several of whom also had survived human-wildlife conflicts—including vehicle collision and den displacement. After being treated for common viruses, the otherwise-healthy pups were released into an outdoor enclosure where they could mature, socialize, and learn to hunt for food.

Going Home
After three months, the four pups who were rescued from Rancho Mirage were old enough for release. The night before release, they received one final, large meal at the Center. The next morning, the coyotes were loaded into their transport crates and driven two hours to their release site in Palm Desert. The secluded site was chosen for its proximity to clean water sources and good hunting grounds.

At the release site, it was clear that the timing for release was right. When their crate doors opened, all four coyotes simultaneously galloped into the brush to begin their new lives. Without time and species-specific care provided at The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, their second chance at life would not have been possible.

A lesson learned
Coyotes are especially intelligent and adaptive, learning to exist in many, varied environments. However, trapping and killing coyotes in an effort to rid them from a community has been shown to be ineffective. The food and water sources remain, which invite coyotes from surrounding areas to move into the community.

The most effective way to manage coyotes in a community is to confront the very behaviors that are becoming a nuisance. Steps as simple as covering trash cans and other sources of food will eventually habituate the coyotes into realizing that food sources do not exist in the community.

For more helpful hints, visit The Humane Society of the United States’ webpage about techniques for resolving coyote conflicts»

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