We read this article during class time as a follow-up to the newspaper reports during last semester about the tragic death of 19-year-old musician Taylor Mitchell. The initial newspaper reports focused on things such as her hiking alone and potentially wearing an Ipod, being unaware of her surroundings. This article talks about how the behaviour of coyotes is changing and how this is resulting in more attacks on humans.
The article explains that coyotes are highly intelligent and adaptable creatures. As people have replaced forested lands with farm fields, the coyote has been able to be successful in the fringes of even the smallest of wooded lots. The coyotes' intelligence allows them to quickly assess whether people pose a threat to them and they will change behaviour accordingly. Two wildlife specialists, Robert Timm and Rex Baker, "have developed a seven-point scale to measure a coyote's transition from being naturally fearfull towards humans to being a safety threat". What surprised me is that daytime sightings of coyotes is in the middle of this scale.
I am one that loves to see wildlife in their natural habitat and I have seen coyotes on many occasions. After readings this article, I will be looking at future encounters in a different light. I think this is an article that everyone should read, as we all visit coyote habitats. Recent sitings of coyotes near schools in Ottawa would reinforce some of the theories that coyote behaviour in and near urban areas is changing and that we need to address this issue.
Merringer, Ian. "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Coyote." Explore March/April 2010: 161. Print.