SDAA has been active in promoting co-existence with urban wildlife, especially coyotes and squirrels. We bring our seminar to community groups and schools, and distribute educational materials on a variety of wildlife issues. We work with homeowners associations and local legislators to provide protection for wildlife.
We will soon begin public screenings of the new documentary, "Still Wild At Heart" which examines the urban coyote. Please contact us if you would like to arrange a screening in your area or for your church or civic group. Click here for details on the documentary.
Stop Killing Coyotes
One morning in the late 1930s, the biologist Adolph Murie stood near a game trail in Yellowstone National Park and watched a passing coyote joyously toss a sprig of sagebrush in the air with its mouth, adroitly catch it, and repeat the act every few yards. At the time, Mr. Murie was conducting a federal study intended to prove, definitively, that the coyote was “the archpredator of our time.” But Mr. Murie, whose work ultimately exonerated the animals, was more impressed by that sprig-tossing — proof, he believed, of the joy a wild coyote took in being alive in the world.
Today, more than 80 years later, coyotes are the most common large predators in America, and an increasingly common sight in our cities and suburbs. If we paid attention, we might share Mr. Murie’s fascination with an intelligent, playful creature. Instead, according to Project Coyote, an animal-welfare organization, we kill roughly half a million of them a year.
Victory! California City Unanimously Votes to End Coyote Trapping
by Stephanie Feldstein · October 14, 2011
The city o fCalabasas, California, in Los Angeles County, prides itself on being an environmentally-conscious community. So when resident Randi Feilich Hirsch pointed out that the city's contract with Los Angeles County to trap and kill coyotes was not only inhumane but threatened to upset the ecological balance of the area, officials took notice. City council suspended all coyote trapping to review the issue.
That was back in July. Now, three months later, Calabasas City Council has made the ban on coyote trapping permanent and adopted a model plan for coexistence.
Feilich Hirsch wasn't alone in this battle. As the Southern California Representative for Project Coyote, she had the organization and its expertise behind her. Project Coyote, working with the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), started a campaign on Change.org to build public support for ending the city's coyote killing policy. By the time city council voted, the groups had more than 9,000 people backing them up.
Randi Feilich Hirsch and Camilla Fox, executive director of the California-based Project Coyote and wildlife consultant with AWI, worked with city officials to strengthen the new management plan and shift the focus from killing to emphasize long-term education, reduction of wildlife attractants, and implementing hazing for habituated coyotes. The city was already using Project Coyote's educational resources and airing its film American Coyote: Still Wild at Heart weekly on its public access TV station.
Fox commended the city on the final plan, developed with the help of Project Coyote and the Animal Welfare Institute. "We believe this is one of the best coyote coexistence plans out there and we look forward to working with the city, the National Park Service and other agencies in assisting in public education."
The coexistence plan was unanimously recommended by the city's Environment Commission, and City Council took up the issue on October 12. Fox delivered the 9,000 petition signatures and presented testimony on behalf of Project Coyote and AWI at the public hearing prior to the council’s decision.
That night, the city council unanimously voted to prohibit any city funds from being spent on coyote trapping and to instead adopt the coyote management plan that shifts the focus from killing to coexistence.
Calabasas Mayor Pro Tem, Mary Sue Maurer, who enthusiastically supported Project Coyote's proposed changes to the city's draft coyote coexistence plan, said, "With the expertise of Project Coyote, the Animal Welfare Institute and the National Parks Service, Calabasas residents and coyotes will mutually benefit and live more harmoniously together. I encourage all Californians that live alongside coyotes to learn more about these wondrous creatures and how we coexist together."