Happy Earth Day from the Nova Scotia NDP

from this morning’s Herald
Coyote bounty on way
NDP likely to pay $20 a killing, despite experts panning cull
By JEFFREY SIMPSON Provincial Reporter Thu. Apr 22 – 4:54 AM
A coyote howls in an enclosure at the Millville Predator Research Facility in Millville, Utah, last year. The head of the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters has said a bounty on Nova Scotia coyotes would be a politically motivated waste of taxpayers’ money.(Colin Braley / AP)
Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell has suggested that he will announce a bounty on coyotes in the province today.
“Trappers seem to indicate that more tracking pressure certainly makes the coyotes more wary, and this is something that I’m concerned about,” MacDonell said Wednesday at Province House.
“They’ve been particularly bold and aggressive, and I’m thinking the ones that are least cautious might be the easiest ones to get first.”
The cull would come almost six months after Taylor Mitchell, a singer-songwriter from Toronto, died in hospital after two coyotes attacked her in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
It was the first time a coyote attack resulted in a death in Nova Scotia. Since then, other people have reported encounters with the animals behaving aggressively.
MacDonell has confirmed previously that he was planning to offer a bounty worth about $20 to members of the Trappers’ Association of Nova Scotia. Members of that group caught 1,900 coyotes last year without a bounty.
He acknowledged that he and some wildlife experts have been skeptical that a cull would control numbers for a significant length of time because you would have to kill 75 per cent of the animals for 50 years.
“This is more of a people-safety thing, so I’m not expecting to eliminate coyotes.”
MacDonell also wants to help educate people about coyotes, but he declined to offer further details.
Leo Glavine, the Liberal natural resources critic, said his party is against a cull.
“Live-trapping works for nuisance animals. That seems to solve the problem.”
The head of the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters has said a bounty would be a politically motivated waste of taxpayers’ money and has urged MacDonell to reconsider such a move.
“It cannot be based on emotion,” Tony Rodgers, the federation’s executive director, told The Canadian Press last week. “This is part of the problem we’ve experienced in past years when politicians started making biological decisions. They haven’t got it right yet.”
‘This is more of a people-safety thing, so I’m not expecting to eliminate coyotes.’ JOHN MacdonellNatural resources minister

Public safety my big fat brownie boosted a**. By his own admission, the NDP Natural Resources Minister has no faith that the cull is either necessary or an effective way to address anything more than the strong voter feedback/hysteria that has been building for the last few months.
From their own website, here is the Dept of Natural Resources FAQ about Eastern Coyotes which up until a couple of days ago contained the firm denial that a coyote cull would have any effect on the situation… clearly stating that it had been tried before and had not proved at all successful.
How big are they? During the 1992/93 harvesting season, over 300 coyotes were weighed by DNR wildlife staff. The average weight of adult male coyotes was 33.9 lbs (15.4 kg). The average weight of adult females was 27.7 lbs(12.6 kg). The largest male collected weighed 47.8 lbs (21.7 kg). DNR occasionally receives reports of individual coyotes weighing in excess of 50 lbs (22.7 kg) but animals of that size are not common.
What should I do when I encounter a coyote?

  • do not feed, touch, or photograph the animal from close distances;
  • remove self from the area by slowly backing away while remaining calm
  • do not turn and run;
  • use personal alarm devices to frighten or threaten the animal;
  • encourage the animal to leave (provide space, an escape route);
  • if animal exhibits aggressive behaviour — then be larger and noisier by throwing sticks and rocks; and
  • fight back aggressively if the animal attacks.

Are coyotes found in Nova Scotia larger than western coyotes Yes. Coyotes found in NS are known as Eastern Coyotes and, while closely related to coyotes found in western North America, they are genetically distinct. The significantly larger body size of Eastern Coyotes has been attributed to past interbreeding with wolves, as coyotes spread northward and eastward across North America. Some individuals encountered here may be as much as twice the average size of coyotes found in southwestern North America.
Why are they so big?
The eastern coyote is basically a western coyote which has picked up significant wolf characteristics through interbreeding. This genetic make up gives the eastern coyote the potential for a much larger body size – twice the size of their close relative, the south-western coyote
How many pups do they have? Collections of harvested coyotes in Nova Scotia indicate that average litter sizes are in the range of 5.5 to 6.3 pups. Records show a low of 2 pups and a high of 10
Where did they come from? These animals dispersed from west to east through Ontario, Quebec, New York and New Brunswick. Crossing the isthmus, they eventually moved from mainland Nova Scotia to Cape Breton crossing the ice-covered Canso Strait.
When did they show up in NS? The first coyote was trapped in 1977.
Were they introduced?No, they were not introduced. With habitat changes in North America, such as land clearing, railroad right-of-ways, etc., the prairie coyote in the late 1800’s began a range expansion that reached Nova Scotia in 1976. There were probably a few coyotes in N.S. prior to 1976, but people may have assumed sightings to be of dogs running at large.
Is the population of coyotes in Nova Scotia increasing? The population of coyotes in the province is stable. See graph for harvest and complaint data.
Why don’t we put a bounty on them, or cull them to reduce the population? The department is considering a pelt-incentive program, a targeted method to increase trapper participation and harvest levels. Increased trapping can also affect coyote behaviour, such that animals fear and avoid humans. This is different than a general, wildlife bounty, which is a broad-scale price put on the target animal to promote killing by anyone at anytime. (webmaster note …. this is a changed answer from even a couple of days ago when it was stated that it had been tried and proved unsuccessful)
Do coyotes in Nova Scotia carry rabies or other diseases? There have been no reported cases of rabies in coyotes in Nova Scotia. Coyotes can carry canine (dog family) heartworm, tapeworm, distemper and mange.
Are coyotes aggressive? Coyotes are wild and generally avoid people. However, they should be treated as potentially dangerous. Do not approach a coyote.
What should people do to be prepared? People out in the wilderness should be aware of their surroundings at all times. Other options include making noise, travelling in pairs or groups, and carrying hiking sticks.
How can people reduce coyote interactions? Make sure garbage is not left laying around, remove pet food, compost, or garbage from outside your doorstep at night. Do not feed wild animals. Do not leave pets unattended or unprotected outdoors
Do they hunt in packs? Coyotes do travel and hunt in family units or packs, generally there is a dominate pair with young of the year.
What do coyotes eat? Coyotes generally eat deer, mice, squirrels, snowshoe hare, and fruit such as apples, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, and are excellent scavengers.
In the history of interactions between humans and coyotes, has there ever been a fatal attack? The attack in Cape Breton is the first case of this nature in Nova Scotia. There was a fatal case reported in the United States (California) in 1981 (Timm, Baker, Bennett and Coolahan 2004).
How many people have been attacked by coyotes?There are 3 records since 1995 of people bitten or attacked in Nova Scotia. Newspaper article records show that in Canada between 1998-2008, there were 24 coyote-human interactions resulting in injury (14.2% of all reported human-coyote incidents). There were no deaths or serious injuries. Incidents usually involved scratches or puncture wounds (Alexander & Quinn, University of Calgary).
Is jogging or running an issue?If you encounter a coyote while jogging/running, stop and slowly leave the area in the direction from which you came. Never run from a coyote as it may trigger a predatory response and chase.
Are there wolf/coyote hybrids ? Eastern Coyotes appear to be genetically distinct; they are not western coyotes nor eastern wolves. The eastern coyote’s larger body size has been attributed to past interbreeding with wolves.
What should you do when you encounter a coyote in the wild? Do not approach the animal(s). Leave the area immediately.
Why are coyotes also found in urban areas? Have we invaded their home?Coyotes are a relatively new species to Nova Scotia. These animals are very adaptable, and will live in and near human settlements, including urban areas.
Does the provincial government trap nuisance coyotes when people lose pets? Nuisance wildlife operators are available to capture animals that come into conflict with humans. However, people should keep their pets under control and supervision, preferably indoors or protected in kennels where they cannot be harmed and cannot chase or harm wildlife.
Is there a season for hunting coyote?
Coyotes are classed as other harvestable wildlife and can be shot year round with no bag limit. However coyotes may only be trapped by licensed furharvesters during the trapping season which starts October 15th and ends March 31st.
Should we expect to see more coyotes during the winter? Yes, winter is the breeding season when movements/activities increase. If natural food sources are locally restricted for some reason, then we have seen that coyotes will become more active/visible in search of food. Snow and the lack of leaf cover also makes coyotes more visible. Heavy snow may encourage travel on/near roads. Recently publicity about coyotes has also heightened public awareness and the likelihood to report sightings.

This morning, when we came home from our daily hike in the woods ( see the previous post to find out how easy it is to do so safely ), I noticed that a new facebook group has been started Stop the Nova Scotia Coyote Cull.
The NDP Natural Resource Minister admits that it is motivated by politics, not public safety. The Liberal Natural Resources Critic, who is my own MLA, and represents a rural riding strongly opposes the cull. The Head of The NS Assc of Anglers and Hunters calls the cull a “politically motivated waste of taxpayers money”
If you do not already have it, the link for current contact information for all NS MLA’s is on the sidebar of this blog
What time is it? Its always time to speak out about such blatant political opportunism …. before the NDP try to bury their inability to deliver on election promises under the corpses of dead coyotes.
Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular- but one must take it simply because it is right. – Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

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