Lake Oswego Coyotes: React but don't Overreact
By Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director
The news that two ten year old girls were chased by a coyote in a Lake Oswego greenspace has set-off a flurry of media stories. A situation such as this absolutely calls for a response. Wildlife experts should investigate the situation and if in fact a coyote is shown to be demonstrating aggressive behavior towards the girls, it should be removed from the environment. However, people should also realize that aggression towards humans is not a normal coyote behavior. There is no reason to persecute coyotes at a larger scale because of this incident.
It is important to ground truth coyote incidents. Audubon has gone out on many coyote calls. In more than a few instances, the coyotes in question have ultimately turned out to be dogs. Also ground truthing the incident often reveals hidden causes for erratic behavior such as the location of a den or young close by. While the descriptions of the behavior in this story are certainly causes for concern, it is also important to note that an aggressive coyote could easily have outrun a pair of 10-year old girls.
Aggressive behavior towards humans is not normal coyote behavior. Coyotes dwell on both urban and rural landscapes. They can be found in cities across North America in areas far more urbanized that Lake Oswego. Attacks on humans are extremely rare and the vast majority of aggressive attacks have been done by coyotes that have become habituated to human food handouts. Nationwide there have only been two human deaths ever attributed to coyotes...ever. There are many common sense things that we can do beginning with ensuring that humans are not deliberately or unintentionally feeding coyotes to minimize conflicts.
For more information go to: http://audubonportland.org/backyardwildlife/brochures/coyote
Tuesday, April 27th: 700 PM
Stanley Gehrt, Ph.D, Assistant Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist at Ohio State University
The howl of coyotes echoing across our urban landscape had become an increasingly common occurrence in recent years. In fact coyotes can be found even in the most urbanized areas of our city. Come learn about the animal that Navajo sheep herders once called "God's Dog." Dr. Stanley Gehrt recently completed a study of urban coyotes in Chicago that has been described as “The most ambitious work of its kind in the country.” Dr. Gehrt tracked 220 radio collared coyotes in Chicago over the course of his six year study. His work is fascinating and will provide valuable insights for wildlife lovers, wildlife professionals and neighborhoods learning about urban coyotes.
Cost: $8 for members of Audubon Society of Portland, Oregon Zoo, World Forestry Center, students, and seniors; $10 for all others.
Location: Oregon Zoo
For more information: http://www.oregonzoo.org/Education/adults/adults_lecture.htm