Davis implements coyote coexistence plan

The City of Davis is set to launch a Coyote Management and Coexistence Plan following incidents of human and animal endangerment last year.

In 2012, a U.S. Department of Agriculture specialist killed five coyotes that were found near Wildhorse Golf Course in July after receiving complaints from local residents. In addition, a house cat was captured and killed by a coyote in December in East Davis.

After these events, the new plan will call for conditioning of the wild coyotes to fear and stay away from human residents and their pets. The plan considers the coyotes to be urban predators, and in the case of an attack, the Davis Police are authorized to kill them or notify the California Department of Fish and Game.

“The city’s strategy for managing coyotes is based on balancing respect and protection for wildlife and their habitats without compromising public safety,” the Coyote Management and Coexistence Plan stated. “The main strategy is comprised of a three-pronged approach consisting of public education designed around coexistence with coyotes; investigating coyote sightings and implementing hazing as needed; and ensuring public safety by implementing appropriate responses to an aggressive interaction or attack by a coyote on a human.”

Some students have said they feel as if the plan is a bit too extreme, stating that it is unnecessary to harm the animals.

“I feel like there should be some regulation to a certain degree where we can keep people safe, but I don’t think we should go to a point where we should kill them [the coyotes],” said first-year pharmaceutical chemistry major Tiffany Le. “That would hinder the food chain.”

Other students have said that they recognize the importance of Davis’ coexistence plan.

“Well, I’ve read that coyotes are naturally afraid of humans, and usually only come near to forage for food. So I wouldn’t think they’d be too large a problem in a city like Davis, but they must be if the city is implementing a policy,” said third-year environmental science and management major Meghan Call.

Community members and students have said that they do not advocate killing the coyotes that attack people, but also acknowledged the need for safety in the community.

“While I do not think shooting them on site is a good idea ecologically, depending on the population statistics, I understand the imperative need to protect citizens of Davis,” Call said.

While they comprehend the danger that coyotes present, they have also said that the safety of the animals also matters.

“I understand that in extreme cases they [the city] might need to euthanize an extremely aggressive animal. But I would hope that the city of Davis would take all steps possible to save the animal,” said first-year mathematics major Heather LaFever. “I would much prefer tranquilization and relocation to euthanasia.”

The plan was placed on on the city’s consent calendar last week for approval.

WENDY CHAO can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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