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Whats Happening to our Coyote Population?

I have lived near the reservoir for 25 yrs & have noticed a huge DECREASE in the coyote population in the last 3-4 yrs. 

 For most of my yrs here, I could look out the window every early morning & see 10-14 coyotes in a group trotting to the Chatsworth Pond, all lined up, with the sunrise behind them. Many times there were pups & juveniles, playing in the sunflowers. It was a magnificent sight.

Every night I could go to sleep with their songs in the background. Funny thing is, I couldn't stand a neighbor's little dogs nightly yap-fest but the sound of several coyotes singing was like a lullaby.

 I still see a few-maybe 3 at a time if I am lucky. And they still sing at night but it is more of a quartet rather than a choir. I attribute it to the relentless persecution of them by Dept of Water & Power. They have placed dozens of ground squirrel poisoned bait boxes ( see previous comment pics) which have poisoned the coyotes  main food source. Not to mention the other predators like our hawks, herons, fox, eagles, etc. DWP has also destroyed much of the habitat around the Chatsworth Pond & has allowed the pond to dwindle to a tiny fraction of its size & depth. It is currently a festering, smelly shallow swamp rather than the lifegiving pond it should be.  Their aim is to dispose of the pond altogether. How very convenient for them.

Meanwhile, the entire ecosystem that has developed for decades, dependent on the food & water provided by the Pond & reservoir is suffering.

Some residents  feel they are seeing more coyotes in their neighborhood. Perhaps it is because they are being driven from their normal feeding & drinking areas, into more & more residential areas to survive.

The best solution is to demand that DWP fill the pond, remove the bait boxes and, here's a thought, treat the nature preserve like a nature preserve instead of a nuisance parcel of barren land.

We are so very blessed to have the gift of wildlife in this little piece of paradise surrounded by pavement & sprawl. Sometimes I wonder if we take it for granted. Other people never get to experience the things we do. Majestic sunrises over the Santa Susana Mtns, hawks soaring in blue skies, coyotes singing at night. Its a miracle . We really must cherish it & demand those in power do the same. 

As for any concerns about coyote encounters, know that coyotes main food source is rodents, squirrels & frogs. They will prey on a small pet if they are hungry enough & the pet is small enough & available. However, that would be our fault, not theirs. When we live with wildlife, it is the pet owners responsibility to keep pets safe. We cannot blame a wild animal for taking advantage of a food opportunity that we create. They do not know that some critters are for eating & some are for petting.

Coyotes are a vital part of our ecosystem. According to Animal Control, the average Coyote has approximately 30 rodents in their stomach daily. Without Coyotes, the rodent population would be a lot more apparent.

 I have a cat who stays inside most of the time because I see hawks all day long. I don't know if one is capable killing him but I don't want to chance it. However, he is a sneaky kitty who gets out sometimes. If he meets his fate because I didn't get him inside soon enough, I would not blame the predator & my love for wildlife would not be diminished.

Coyotes are not always a threat to pets. I have seen 2 occasions where the opposite occurred. Once when a coyote chose to play tag & frolic with an elderly, half blind Pomeranian who got into the reservoir. At first I thought the Pom would be a goner before I could get under the fence to catch it. The coyotes was chasing it . But then the old Pom turned & chased the coyote. Then the game reversed & I watched the two chase each other back & forth for several minutes until I could catch the Pom. Shortly after that a neighbors teenage Lab was in the reservoir, harassing a coyote-chasing & pouncing on it, like any young dog would do to engage the other in play. The coyote was joined by another family member & they tried to run away but the Lab kept annoying them. They could have killed him, but instead one simply turned, gave him a little nip on the tail, which sent him galloping home. Unharmed.

When I walk the trails behind Chatsworth Oaks Park, I frequently see dogs off lease, which is ok, if they are polite, but many of them enjoy chasing all the wildlife they see, including coyotes.  I have a friend who thinks its  fun to chase coyotes on horseback. He is of the bizarre belief that the coyotes like it.
It is the wildlife that is stressed & harmed by our encounters more than we are.

Coyotes are innately shy creatures. I have never feared them, even when I have been in the midst of several. In fact, for a few special years, there was a lame little female who hung out in the backyard for hours at a time. One day, I walked past her. She followed. From then on, we walked every day. She would stay about 10 ft away but we would stroll & sit, watching the grass grow. There was no reward for her. She was just lonely. To my knowledge she didn't do this with any other human.  None of the common claims of habituating them, removing their fear of us, creating food grabbing, child biting devils applied here. She kept a reasonable distance, never lost her fear of other humans & seemed content with a walking buddy. Then one day she was gone. Those walks will remain one of my life's most precious experiences.

 Coyotes, like all creatures should be honored, protected, understood. Not feared or murdered. To see one is to remind us that the world is more than humans, houses & iphones. For some, it is still a wild world.

Jock December 15, 2013 at 11:26 AM
I couldn't agree more.
Status Quo December 20, 2013 at 02:31 PM
"I have lived near the reservoir for 25 yrs & have noticed a huge DECREASE in the coyote population in the last 3-4 yrs."---------- A correct answer 'watch', is you moved there and Coyotes are not entitled to special protections. Coyotes have no special protections in California and "may be killed by any method that is not prohibited by federal, state, or local statutes." ¶Don't get me wrong 'watch' even in my neck 'o the woods, even with a modicum of appreciation for predatory, territorial and overfed varmints... I am also appreciative of the problems that rate-payers are willing to be ripped-off by union goons(Darcy) in-league-with DWP, in your region. In your explorations, find the bodies of these poor animals for verification of your concerns, beyond the acknowledged Rights of DWP to protect 'your' water source. Like Javelina's of the region of my birth, when sunshine is on the pelts... it is humans'(feeding/killing) of animals that cause more problems that harms balance in systems. I admit "traps" is a snivelish method of thinning of numbers. Perhaps, you do not have children who play in the sunflowers or have a special affinity to Coyotes. By my lights, people who like Coyotes - also like illegal immigration and support the Coyote' population feeding, more egregious deviations of law that DWP is in compliance. I suggest you rate-payers concern yourself with your actual immediate problem(s) with DWP than killable varmints while you can. Please excuse my mixing of metaphors by not-so-clever choice and humor. 'Jock' and I disagree at many levels and what damned 'varmits are
Jock December 20, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Status, you have outdone yourself. Calling out someone who "knows of which he speaks" (the blogs author) on a topic just to hang a B.A. on here is beneath you . I also doubt you even know the locale he is referring to in a way which gives you an informed view of the unique situation. DWP water source ? Dude. Look into that. As to your assumption that everyone with a point other than at the top of their head is against you, and a tree hugging libertard commie and aligned with my ideas , I do not know the blogs author or his politics and strangely Status, many of the Far Right are also right. The poisoning of our wildlife (It's a food chain remember) is a short sighted answer. The Squirrels eat the poison the Hawks, Egrets, Coyotes, Foxes, Vultures, Crows, Jays eat the poisoned rodent and die. But wait...all of those animals eat the ground squirrels and keep them in check !! Maybe Mr. and Mrs. God had it right from the top ?? "Varmints is in the eye of the beholder"-Yosemite Sam
Status Quo December 20, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Yes, do not promote Coyote numbers by feeding the killable varmints. Reign-in your DWP union (2)trusts, that are ripping-off public monies(ostensibly Darcy) and now refusing to disclose to rate-payers... 'Jock'. Coyotes have no special protections in California and "may be killed by any method that is not prohibited by federal, state, or local statutes." You may mount a persuasive argument if you like. My distanced interest, is people who insist on support of predator/scavenger species. Poisoning is a acceptable method of reduction. DWP, is your bogeyman, what DWP wants/can do with the resource and it's stranger proximity to the old Raytheon plant - I believe precisely why no source of water is mined, deemed usable. Perhaps if early residents of the S.F. Valley had worked it differently and the Audubon Society was on their strange collectives' game... a better 'natural balance' for the area could have been carved out. I understand the obese probability of the land being set-aside from aggressive development. My contentions center on the authors' love for Coyotes being dramatized and only tangentially his motives to protect a Coyote pack of his memory. I could coddle him, by assuring him that the scavenging/predators have moved on. Outside of DWP's recent deceitful intents, DWP "has' purview to eradicate them if they like according to my overview - hiding behind my (power-forward) 'B.A'. The B.A. is free, and your Yosemite Sam view is more correct. The water(re)source, is under DWP control - your B.A. is free. You can't save all the pups, pretty soon, your up to your hips in Coyotes. Thanks for the correction. Merry Christmas to all, and Happy New Year.

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