Seal Beach Residents Demonstrate Against Coyote Killings

Please support the group “Empty Cages Los Angeles” in their effort to stop trapping and gassing coyotes in Seal Beach, California. Coexistence requires little effort, entailing a modicum of education about coyote behavior and about simple guidelines that work. Let’s use our knowledge, not our fears, to deal with our urban wildlife.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gail
    Oct 09, 2014 @ 04:48:50

    GASSING, of all things?!?! How shameful. Did they even attempt to try other methods?


  2. Gail
    Oct 09, 2014 @ 04:50:29

    I meant “other methods” in the sense of coexistence, not “euthanasia”


    • yipps
      Oct 09, 2014 @ 05:37:02

      Hi Gail —

      I know that you meant if they had looked into coexistence. Folks were given guidelines and tools a year ago, and they were told that they needed to change their own behaviors, i.e., keep small pets indoors, leash, don’t leave food out, etc. I get the impression that the community didn’t put much effort into making coexistence work. Recently some pets went missing and this is the outcome: the City Council voted to trap and kill — yes, by gassing. The group that just led the demonstrations against the killings is Empty Cages Los Angeles — we all need to support them. Janet

  3. Patrick Manoa
    Oct 10, 2014 @ 02:11:27

    You do realize that Co2 (the method the contractor is using) is considered one of the most humane ways euthanize wildlife in California, correct? Wildlife is required to be killed on site or released immediately. It is illegal to take the animal and transport him elsewhere. The only other legal method without having a vet on site would be shooting, which is illegal in most localities. Carbon dioxide is recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association as a humane way to euthanize coyotes and other wildlife like raccoons, skunks, and possums.


    • yipps
      Oct 10, 2014 @ 02:42:41

      This is incorrect. Any killing is inhumane: gassing is terrifying and involves slow suffocation. If you want to find out exactly how inhumane it is, I suggest you go and watch it for yourself — don’t rely on something someone else wrote to make you feel good about your choice to kill. Janet

  4. Charles Wood
    Oct 10, 2014 @ 09:00:33

    Patrick – the objection to killing coyotes to solve coyote problems is based on the fact that as a method of control, killing coyotes doesn’t work at all. That’s because killing coyotes actually increases the numbers of coyotes as quickly as in one year. In part that population increase is attributable to increased litter sizes among surviving coyotes where litter size is inversely proportional to the number of coyotes around.

    It is also a fact that coyote problems such as in Seal Beach have been remedied in other communities by community efforts of the type that Janet advocates for on her Coyote Yipps site and elsewhere. So Janet isn’t asking that we pick the humane method instead of efficacious lethal methods. Instead she is asking that we don’t use the ineffective lethal methods because to do so is to be a stupid waste of life. Wasting life goes against our humanity.


  5. Charles Wood
    Oct 10, 2014 @ 10:07:32

    Another thought on the Seal Beach residents who favor killing coyotes. I observed coyotes for a few years in an area north of Seal Beach. The dad coyote had in his mind that I was there observing him because I wanted his rabbits, pocket gophers, and other edibles. At first I thought him ridiculous to harbor such suspicions, but later I had to acknowledge that indeed, if hungry enough, I would raid his larder. Dad coyote was always hungry and it was natural for him to assume that I was always hungry too, was foraging as was he, was coveting his food stores.

    Would Dad coyote have come to my neighborhood he would have been astounded by all my neighbors either walking their prey around on leashes or otherwise toying with their prey. He would have been amazed to see that our food animals come when called and even snuggle up on our laps, the concept of ‘food as pet’ being beyond his comprehension. (Dad coyote would understand toying with one’s prey, though the inordinate delay in the eating he wouldn’t necessarily get.) Of my neighborhood, Dad coyote would perhaps even ask himself if it was all a dream, a dreamt up a heaven of a world where prey actually comes to the predator on the predator’s cue, prey celebrating it’s self-sacrifice with play and all amid the pervasive, luxuriating aromas of food preparation, that aroma around all night and all day.

    All our pets Dad coyote misperceives as inexorably headed for our dinner pots, some to him he perceives as already there. If Dad coyote then would hurry things up, skip the pot to steal from us, we seeming habitual procrastinators in that regard: well, perhaps by some stretch of our imaginations we could forgive his faux pas. (We know that our own canines are compunctionless about stealing food.)

    Further, if we are honestly clear headed about our pets, we too, if hungry enough, would eat them just as, if hungry enough, we would eat Dad coyote’s pocket gophers and rats. Dad coyote in that eventuality would be unable to protect his own larder from our human hunger.

    We can comprehend our own hunger. The question then is this: Can we protect coyotes from their uncomprehending hunger as they wander through the heaven on earth we have created for ourselves? I believe we can if we are willing to.


  6. Charles Wood
    Oct 10, 2014 @ 15:34:26

    Their home is fewer than five miles upriver from Seal Beach. Of course, that is a few tanks of pocket gophers away, perhaps not worth the expense of the trip. To us five miles doesn’t seem all that far away because we cheat the distance by burning the remains of ancient weeds, even our minimal preparatory toiletries taking longer than our trip. And of course, we go straight away while a coyote stops many times along the way for rest and play, perhaps even to the point of forgetting its destination and instead just ending up back home. Similarly we might stop along our way for convenience food, or may even buy snacks once we get to that point that is five miles away. Like coyotes, we eat all the time and like coyotes we quickly tire of convenience food and snacks, preferring instead our standard fare available only at our homes.

    I see communities like Seal Beach from a coyote’s point of view as being much like a county fair is for us. In it there are many amusements amid scores of feeding stations. At a county fair the food is plentiful yet isn’t really all that good. At a county fair, all the workers at the fair mostly gawk at us while we amuse ourselves and eat. If instead the workers at the fair yelled “Hey rube!”, charged us, and threw things then pretty soon we would find somewhere else to visit.

    Coyotes understand territory. They understand that territory is food, perhaps understand that better than do we. They also understand when physical movements are used to assert a territorial claim. A coyote understands that territory is always defined both by its food and by who owns/claims that food. When we assert our territorial claim to a coyote, we’re best to say it using our body language. ‘This is our food. So get out!’ That’s because our argument with coyotes in our territory is really all about food. That’s just like when we come into a coyote’s home territory, it at times will assert its claim to its food.


    • yipps
      Oct 10, 2014 @ 17:21:55

      Thank you, Charles! Your insights are great, and your manner of expressing them — your writing — is superb, as usual! What I have seen confirms what you say: for the most part, coyote families stick to their own limited territories. However, I have read that, especially the males, can venture much further, which I suppose if they migrate, they must, but I would think that distant travel occurs mostly during breeding season which is not right now.

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