NOVEMBER 2016

No matter where you stand politically, the results of the election make one pause and reflect.

As the leader of the Project Coyote pack, I realize that fundamentally our plan remains intact: to promote our vision of making compassionate coexistence a reality. This can be achieved by looking to community, acting in solidarity, and relying on sound science. We must renew our commitment to finding common ground, regardless of cultural or political differences.

The challenges we face are not easy. Looking ahead, I am confident that the tools that we have employed to make Project Coyote a uniquely strong advocate for predators — public education, coalition building, grassroots mobilization, and legal action — will bring us continued success. Today, I call on each member of our Project Coyote pack to continue devoting passion and energy on behalf of our wild neighbors. The stories highlighted in this issue of Coyote Chronicles remind us of just how crucial our direct advocacy is.

Events of the past week have also reminded me of the appropriateness of the coyote as our flagship animal —because of her ability to survive ecological and social upheavals. The coyote exhibits resilience in the face of difficulties, adaptability and flexibility in behavior and habits, and loyalty and dedication to the family and the pack (coyotes generally mate for life, and both males and females are great caregivers). As the most persecuted native carnivore in North America, coyotes have persevered and thrived.

We have much to learn from Coyote.

I hope you enjoy this edition of Coyote Chronicles. Thank you always for your support.

For the Wild,
Camilla H. Fox
Founder & Executive Director

Coyote America: Author Dan Flores Speaks about North America’s Native Song Dog

Project Coyote is delighted to have an ally in Dan Flores, an American writer and historian who specializes in cultural and environmental studies of the American West. Dan is also the bestselling author of the recently published, Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History.

With the publication of Coyote America, Dan gives a uniquely multilayered and sensitive account of the coyote — one of America’s most misunderstood animals. Flores entwines his own evolution — from a boy growing up in Louisiana in the 60s to a university professor who reveres wildlife — with the coyote’s development through the millennia. Project Coyote supporters will be glad to know that Dan’s engaging narrative style and deep study of the evolution, habits, mythology and persecution of the coyote has helped bring the plight of the coyote to the consciousness of mainstream America. The artistry of Coyote America has won it high praise from such well-known news outlets as the Christian Science Monitor, The Bullseye, and National Geographic.

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(Dan will be our special guest at our holiday benefit on December 15th in Mill Valley; more information here).

Grant McComb rallies youth to support wolves in California

Voters Be Aware!

As part of Project Coyote’s effort to spread our message of peaceful human coexistence with coyotes and other urban wildlife, we always look for new avenues to reach wider audiences. Our full-page Be Coyote Aware flyer was included in San Francisco Voter Information Pamphlets for the November 8, 2016 election; it reached more than 450,000 voters!

In a city where coyotes have been recolonizing green spaces over the last five years, it is critical to reach residents with tips and tools for achieving coexistence. To meet this need, Project Coyote has worked with the City of San Francisco and Animal Care & Control to develop tools, such as the Be Coyote Aware flyer; a door hanger with a QR code that links to a PSA that is co-branded with San Francisco Parks & Recreation; and a Coyote Dog flyer that offers tips on being a responsible dog guardian–especially around pupping season. People can scan the code with their smart phones and watch the short PSA when they’re out on a trail.

In some cities we have also included our brochures and flyers in utility bills as an easy, low-cost way to reach thousands of residents with this critical information.

We are always expanding our toolbox, always open to new paths of communication. If you have a creative outreach idea you’d like to share, please email us at coyoteoutreach@projectcoyote.org

Bobcat © Daniel Dietrich

The California Superior Court issued an order on October 25, denying Monterey County’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit, filed in June by Project Coyote and allies that challenges the county’s contract renewal with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services. This notorious federal program has killed more than 3,000 coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions and other animals in the county in the past six years, largely in the name of protecting livestock. The lawsuit contends that Monterey County’s renewal of its contract with Wildlife Services violates the California Environmental Quality Act, because the County failed to analyze the program’s environmental impacts, and wrongfully claimed an exemption from the Act. “An increasing body of evidence demonstrates that Wildlife Services’ lethal predator-control program is ecologically destructive, ethically indefensible and economically unjustifiable,” said Camilla Fox, Founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote. “This federal agency bears the burden of proof to justify their actions using the best available science, which we have demonstrated it has failed to do.” The lawsuit now moves forward, with plaintiffs slated to submit our opening legal brief in November. Read more here and here. And read about a related lawsuit here.

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Marilyn McGee leads a presentation on coexistence.

Project Coyote has long championed an educational approach to changing communities’ perceptions and treatment of coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions and other native carnivores — both in rural and urban areas. Facilitating that change requires the help of strong allies on the ground to build relationships and trust — particularly within the agricultural community.

We are lucky to have such allies in Pam and Randy Comeleo of Benton County, Oregon. Pam and Randy are wildlife advocates and active members of their community. Last year Randy and Pam sought our help to shift Benton County from a non-selective lethal predator management program to a humane non-lethal program. As in most Western states, Benton County contacts out its predator management with USDA’s Wildlife Services (WS), which uses indiscriminate (lethal) control methods including neck snares, leghold traps and poisons. The Comeleos documented that over the last ten years, WS has killed 738 mammals in Benton County, including 456 coyotes, 95 beavers, 50 raccoons, and 46 bobcats. This senseless carnage cost taxpayers $216,590!

Last year, Project Coyote’s executive director, Camilla Fox traveled to Benton to meet with wildlife advocates and public officials and to make a presentation to the County’s Board of Supervisors. Fox shared information about the successful Marin Livestock and Wildlife Protection Program, which was adopted by the Marin County Board of Supervisors in 2000 in response to Wildlife Services’ use of poisons and traps. Benton County is now distributing Project Coyote’s Ranching with Wildlife brochure. On November 13, the Comeleos arranged for Dr. John A. Shivik, author of The Predator Paradox, to share his experiences and knowledge about non-lethal wildlife management and the social aspects of conflicts between people and wildlife through a series of public and private workshops. The workshops drew more than 100 people including ranchers, farmers and Benton County public officials. Working with Project Coyote Program Associate Fauna Tomlinson, the Comeleos also shared information about Foxlights and other non-lethal predator management methods (read more about Foxlights below – “Seeing the Light”). Stay tuned for updates on the efforts in Benton County to reform predator management.

Camilla Fox presents Michael Sutton with Project Coyote's Wildlife Stewardship of the Year Award

Seeing the Light

Project Coyote’s Ranching With Wildlife program assists ranchers with non-lethal livestock protection techniques developed with ranchers and shared in workshops and presentations. Foxlights are quickly becoming a popular non-lethal tool across the U.S., so we asked Project Coyote’s Ranching With Wildlife Coordinator Keli Hendricks to tell us about the history and function of Foxlights and the testing Project Coyote has performed on the predator deterrent device.

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Camilla Fox presents Michael Sutton with Project Coyote's Wildlife Stewardship of the Year Award

Adventures of a Young Coyote Pup

For more than three years, Project Coyote’s Colorado and New Mexico Representative Judy Paulsen has been educating people in both states about creating Coyote Friendly Communities and living in peaceful coexistence with coyotes. In this role, she holds public presentations, speaks at wildlife-related events, and works closely with local animal control agencies to address people’s concerns and questions.

Judy also actively works on advocacy campaigns in both Colorado and New Mexico representing Project Coyote on several wildlife coalitions; in New Mexico she is working to pass legislation to ban wildlife killing contests and trapping on public lands with allies who are part of the Trap Free New Mexico Coalition.

In her work with local communities and animal control agencies, her messages cover many practical aspects of handling encounters with the species, including what to do when faced with a seemingly abandoned young animal in the wild. Her experience with wildlife goes back to her childhood in New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness, where she began to realize that most predator species want nothing to do with humans, who would be wise to leave the animals alone so they can continue to carry out the essential roles they play in benefiting our shared ecosystems.

Recently Judy learned about a story that highlights how communities can work together to help wildlife. It begins in a way that is all too common: with a pup who is found and believed to be orphaned or in need of help. While rescue organizations emphasize that removing any wild animal from the wild is rarely a good idea and should be a last resort, when that action is taken, as you’ll read in this story, it can be inspiring to see a chain of compassionate hands working together for a positive outcome.

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Interview with Wildlife Photographer Daniel Dietrich

Daniel Dietrich is a professional wildlife photographer, a certified California Naturalist and owner and founder of Point Reyes Safaris in Point Reyes, California. While his travels have taken him to every continent to photograph wildlife, his love of the Point Reyes National Seashore and its inhabitants has been so strong that he, his wife Jessica and daughters Evelyn and Ruby call it home. His intimate knowledge of the park, its history and animal life provides safari guests with a one-of-a-kind experience, unobtrusively encountering coyotes, bobcats, owls, hawks, badgers and more.

Daniel is a strong advocate for responsible photography. He will never use bait, lures, calls or any other method of manipulating an animal to view or capture an image. And he has also offered a strong voice at hearings and in his writing for protecting wildlife from contests, bounties and lethal management practices.

You will see many of Daniel’s photographs on Project Coyote’s website and in our video productions, and we always look forward to seeing what new images his lens has found in the wild.

Project Coyote recently spoke with Daniel about his work with wildlife. His stories and perspectives offer an inspiring invitation to appreciate and learn more about the wild animals near us. As Daniel says, “Once you see your favorite animal in the wild, you will want to do all you can to protect it.”

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Join Us: Project Coyote Holiday Benefit – Dec. 15th in Mill Valley, CA

Project Coyote is hosting a holiday benefit party in Mill Valley, California on December 15th in celebration of native carnivores, compassionate conservation, and community coexistence. The event will feature the work of honored guests Dan Flores, bestselling author of Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History, and Daniel Dietrich, award-winning wildlife photographer. Attendees will view a trailer of Project Coyote’s upcoming documentary film exposing wildlife-killing contests; learn about the Project Coyote’s work on behalf of native carnivores; and enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres and wine. Proceeds will support Project Coyote’s work on behalf of wildlife. Additional information and tickets.

OTHER NEWS

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Redefines “Refuge” and Expands Hunting and Fishing

On World Animal Day Marc Bekoff took the opportunity to challenge the USFWS decision to expand fishing and hunting opportunities on 13 refuges throughout the Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System. Read More

America’s Wildlife Body Count

If you missed it: Be sure to check out Richard Conniff’s September New York Times Op-Ed “America’s Wildlife Body Count

How and Why the Greater Yellowstone Matters

In The Bullseye Franz Camenzind writes about “How and Why the Greater Yellowstone Matters

Bobcats, cougars, and coyotes get a stay of execution

Bobcats, cougars, and coyotes get a stay of execution in Nevada ~ Wildlife Services will stop killing predators in Nevada’s wilderness areas, thanks to a lawsuit. Read More

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