Letters to the Editor

Letter to The Editor: When are real experts (aka canid biologist) going to be included in these discussions?

- Courtesy photo

– Courtesy photo

In response to a recent article: Former Arcadia Mayor Does the Math On Coyotes

Here are some facts from actual coyote studies authored by canid biologists: 

Dr. Eric Gese, Professor (USDA National Wildlife Research Center, Predator Behavior and Ecology) who has been conducting field research on wild carnivores since 1983, with a major focus on the behavior, ecology, and management of coyotes, wolves, and foxes in North America,  was asked for comment on the infographic (above) presented by Project Coyote and The Humane Society of the U.S. his reply was simply put “over simplified and unproven.”

In “Foraging Ecology of coyotes (Canis Latrans): the influence of extrinsic factors and dominance hierarchy” by Eric M. Gese, Robert L. Ruff, and Project Coyote science Advisor Robert L. Crabtree, biologists directly observed multiple pack disruptions. In these disruptions, beta animals took the place of alpha animals. The entire premise of the infographic rests on the theory that when alpha animals are removed it allows multiple coyotes within a pack to breed or invites transient animals into a group.

Even if we played devil’s advocate and considered the theory of coyote self regulation, “the coyotes average litter size is 6 pups.” “Coyotes in captivity may live as long as 18 years, but in wild populations, life expectancy is considerably shorter. Maximum ages reported for wild coyotes are 13.5, 14.5 and 15.5 years.” We know coyotes face mortality rates from vehicle collisions ranging from 35 to 50%.[i] Let’s just say this pair would live for 10 years thats still 40 to 60 pups for each breeding pair.

In reality, “the percentage of females that breed in a given year varies with local conditions.” “Food supply is usually the prime factor; in good years, more females, especially yearlings, breed.” “Usually about 60-90% of adult females and 0-70% of female yearlings will produce litters.”Hamlett (1939) and Asdell (1964) reported that 85-92% of embryos develop into viable young. This comes from the attached reference “Coyotes” written by Dr. Eric Gese and Project Coyote supporter Marc Bekoff.

It’s difficult to understand how two biologists on Project Coyotes Science Advisory board have both participated in studies that directly observed coyote behavior that completely contradicts the claims made by Camilla Fox of Project Coyote.

Why is anyone listening to these animal rights activists? PETA wants everyone to stop eating meat. They harass anyone that disagrees with their unfounded views. The Humane Society of the U.S settled out of court with Ringling Bros circus for $24 million to avoid a RICO lawsuit, Pasadena Humane Society killed more dogs last year than the amount of coyotes trapped by Arcadia and the nonlethal predator management plan in Marin County pushed by Camilla Fox of Project Coyote resulted in 100s of coyotes dying every year after her group helped bully the USDA trappers out of the county, the USA trappers took less than 20 coyotes per year.

This whole mess is absurd.

Dr. Eric Gese: http://qcnr.usu.edu/directory/gese_eric


August 4, 2017

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