2018-01-04 / Editorial

Coyote issue needs a patient resolution

The recent report of two dogs fighting with a coyote at Beavertail State Park is just the latest example of issues residents have been having with the wild animals.

Besides numerous pets being attacked, several sheep have been killed and children, pedestrians and bicyclists all are in harm’s way until a solution is found as the coyotes become more emboldened as they get more and more used to human contact.

While some are calling for an organized cull, we don’t believe that step is necessary yet. Also, eliminating coyotes completely would be unwise as they do play a part in the natural order by controlling other animal populations.

Still, there is plenty that can be done in the interim.

Led by Jamestown biologist Numi Mitchell, the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study is tracking coyote packs in town using GPS collars in an attempt to locate their food sources. This group needs the time to complete its research so an intelligent plan to control the coyote population can be formulated.

Tracking and capturing the coyotes also would allow for rabies testing to see if any of the packs pose a more serious threat to people.

Residents can aid this effort by taking pictures with their phones of any coyote sightings and calling them into police, who also are tracking them. People should not take matters into their own hands by either shooting non-threatening coyotes or setting traps for them on their property.

The town does have a problem, but a shotgun solution — figuratively and literally — is not the answer.

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