Coyote Watch Canada has concerns with recent events involving a coyote pup reportedly (through social media) bought, sent across the border and homed in a Hamilton apartment.
It’s not difficult to picture the grim sight: a sweet little creature huddling scared and alone in some sort of crate, box or bag as he is smuggled over international borders. We have been piecing the puzzle of this story together with tidbits of information – some accurate, some not – over the last week. It has been frustrating and heartbreaking, to say the least.
“Coyote pup found in downtown apartment” was the first public glimpse into this strange and unraveling saga. Television viewers were told last night during the news that the coyote pup is alive and well, living at a temporary home. Our idea of home and the little pup’s idea of home are inherently different. His ancient DNA speaks from a wild place we can never intimately know or truly understand. To chase grasshoppers, smell the earth, hear his mother’s song in the wind and grow up knowing the love of his pack, his family. This has all been taken from him through thoughtless acts he will never comprehend.
Coyotes are beautiful animals. Fondly called “Song Dog” or “Gods Dog” by nature enthusiasts, wildlife researchers, writers, and coyote advocates alike, coyotes are the epitome of wildness and adaptability. They are mysterious, excellent parents and are recognized as the mythological character, the Trickster, in native storytelling throughout history.
More and more people are learning to appreciate them for the intelligent, family oriented and keystone species that they are. Coyote research veteran, Marc Bekoff describes in his article, Coyotes: Fascinating Animals Who Should Be Appreciated, Not Killed that “coyotes are adaptable, intelligent, socially complex, and sentient beings who deserve respect.”
Coyotes demonstrate so many of the qualities we admire and observe in our four-legged family members. Sadness, playfulness, grief, loyalty, chase instinct and the necessity and drive to bond with pack members. Family is everything to coyote. Young pups learn communication skills, pack dynamics, hunting techniques and social behavior critical for a healthy and well-adjusted future in the wild through interactions with their parents, aunts, uncles and siblings. Family is the center of pup universe until they become skilled predators and venture away to establish their place in the landscape. Coyotes need each other to thrive and survive in a sometimes very hostile world.
Coyotes do not need us to consider them as viable pet candidates. If we could ask the person that bought this coyote puppy and kept it held up in an apartment for three months a question, it would be “what were you thinking?”
What is evident about coyotes is that they do resemble our own domestic dogs. Animal lovers across the continent and the world over are enamored with the prospect of having a dog as a family pet. A wild coyote as a pet is not only illegal in Ontario; it flies in the face of common sense, advocacy, preservation and ethical stewardship for wildlife. It is just plain selfish, thoughtless and reckless. We thank all those who were involved in removing the coyote pup to a more fitting environment and who have a hand in caring for the pup at the Urban Wildlife Center over the next few weeks.
Finally we leave you with food for the heart, a quote from friend and coyote defender Kelly A. Edwards “Wild animals need habitat, domestic animals need homes!”
If you’re considering a pet, please visit your local humane society or rescue group and welcome an adopted animal into your home forever. Become a volunteer or better yet get involved with wildlife rehabilitation. Hard working folks could sure use the extra caring hands to provide the vital service of rescue and rehabilitation.
Here’s how you too can help coyotes in Canada.
Please share our educational information with friends and family. Dialogue about all the reasons why not to consider taking a wild animal as a pet as pointed out in the following article “Keeping Wild Animals- Unsafe, Illegal And Inhumane“. Visit our Living With Coyotes Program in the City of Niagara Falls. And remember to stop by our coexistence friends at Fur-Bearer Defenders to learn more about coyotes and other wildlife advocacy.