OMFG COYOTES!

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Hancock Park-adjacentinos are up in arms in today’s Times wondering who let the dogs out, or rather the coyotes in. According to the article recent sightings of the wild canines within the upscale residential box bordered by Gardner and Third streets and La Brea and Melrose avenues have surpassed the 30 mark and dammit if the city won’t do a double-dawg dang thing about it, and I say damn straight. Way to go city.

Of course there are situations where the city will step in… if a coyote is sick or injured or uncharacteristically aggressive. And yes, there have been tragedies in the rare attacks on humans — even the occasional death. And a staple of the urban coyote’s diet is beloved pets. But in those unfortunate cases is the coyote to be held responsible for being a coyote or is the dead animal’s guardian accountable for failing to take the necessary precautions against the predators? Not to tread on anyone’s heartbreak, but my vote’s for the latter.

I said it before, I’ll say it again: I am one of those tree-hugging nature-loving wildlife-respecting freaks in this wasteland of a reclaimed desert swamp who actually marvels when I see one of these phenomenal creatures — and I’ve seen a fair share. From the skinny one above that I snapped badly looking for a gopher to eat within the Silver Lake reservoir to the two strapping specimens well-known around my neck of jungle who were set on using an overgrown corner of the front yard as an ambush den. I had the pleasure of a pup playfully gallumphing along beside me while mountain cycling up in the Verdugos two springs ago until momma emerged behind us on the fire road and sternly ordered it to quit playing with the sucky human and it obeyed. I’ve had staring contests with them in the streets of Beverly Hills, been brazenly paced by them in Griffith Park and the Angeles National Forest and I have successfully not hit any of those I’ve found roaming the fairways while teeing off from various holes of various city courses (it’s the one thing I do good at golf). Each and every time I’m gifted with an encounter of this ultimate survivor, instead of crying “NIMBY!” and calling up the jurisdictional animal services department demanding the creature be destroyed, I remember what a wild place we live in and that it was their place long before it was mine.

Bottom line is to make your space unappealing to coyotes there are actions that can be taken and tools to be used. Unsubstantiated fear and disrespect aren’t on the list.

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6 Replies to “OMFG COYOTES!”

  1. I’m not quite the same environmental “freak” :), but I totally agree that pet owners and parents are responsible for keeping their charges safe.

  2. Ahh, the coyote. Usually we hear of them when there’s something in the media about transporting people undercover across the border. Hmmm? Whassthat? Oh. Of course. those knid… the ones that eat cats and little dogs and might carry off an unsupervised small child. Well, there aren’t any unsupervised small children out there at least, right?

    I have a house in the mountains where I spend just about every other weekend, more often in summer. There are coyotes all over… in their relatively unspoiled habitat. I walk alone late at night up there (like I do in LA often) and I’ve never had a problem. Will’s got the answer… don’t make your little slice of paradise too coyote friendly and you shouldn’t have any trouble. kinda the same ting with bears… but there aren’t any of THOSE around here… right? Sierra Madre? Oh, yeah. Sampson. I remember. Tell ya what tho – I’d rather hear coyote howls than endless sirens any night!

  3. Pet peeve: LA is not a desert, “reclaimed” or otherwise.

    A desert is a climate of continual long-term water deficit, where the average annual rainfall is less than half the potential evapotranspiration. For this latitude, that translates to an average annual rainfall of about 5 inches or less.

    LA’s average annual rainfall is about 15 inches, nearly half again the potential evapotranspiration. It’s about 3 times as wet as the wettest desert.

    LA is a mild wet-winter mesothermal climate with considerable marine influence – a type commonly called “Mediteranean.”

    Its natural terrain is grassy, oak-studded flatlands, hillsides covered with coastal sagebrush and ceanothus chapparal, riparian groves of willow, sumac and bay laurel, and, in areas of impeded drainage, swamps and wetlands thick with native roses and wild grapevines.

    Remember, “La Cienaga” means “The Swamp.” Rancho de la Cienaga, the “Rancho of the Swamp” was named that because it’s… well, swampy.

    Swamps aren’t usually found in deserts. :-)

  4. Pet Peeve: Comments that go off and off and off and off debating a minor reference point that has nothing to do with the post’s subject.

    At least in this case SCN’s lecture was substantially educational and (hopefully) well-meaning… or at least not noticeably condescending in its tone. Thus in my appreciation of that restraint I have modified the erroneous minor info in the post.

  5. Having the LA Times write about something is kind of like when a stock is mentioned on the cover of Forbes or Fortune. It means the issue has peaked in publicity and is almost no longer newsworthy. They’ve become armchair journalists, trolling the blogosphere for leads.

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