Upsetting the Ecosystem
It doesn't surprise me, but it does sadden me that the city of Leawood,Kansas, one of the cities that makes up the Greater Kansas City Metro, has decided to take the easy way out and not the problem solving way to tackle the problem of coyotes in their neighborhoods by trapping and killing them:
I love pets. I've always had dogs and cats. Right now, we have four dogs who are our children. Two of them, Emma and Sade are big enough and strong enough to be out in the woods here alone. While I would rather they not go cruising, keeping two big dogs in a "yard" with no fence is impossible. We joke they have taken up with the "wrong crowd" and run with the coyotes each evening when they disappear. The two little ones, Dakota and Molly, are way too small to roam with their big sisters. During the times Dakota has broken from us and roamed the woods, its been a nerve wracking ordeal until she decides to wander back home. A coyote could have her for a snack and we would be lucky to find her collar. We're diligent about watching them and making sure we know what's around us when we take them outside. Coyotes are a smart lot and can learn routines and lay in wait.
I understand we chose this life, where we know wildlife roams, unlike people in the burbs, who think that being with nature means sitting on their deck. I was raised in the suburbs and have lived there most of my life, I know how out of touch these people are with their natural surroundings, because I was one of them. I wouldn't be happy myself if I had to worry about coyotes jumping the fence of my $500,000 home and killing my dog. However, I think it's time we humans take responsibility for encroaching on the natural habitat of these creatures as well, and that doesn't mean killing anything that doesn't mix with our view of the perfect suburban life.
For years, we've been poisoning our lawns with pesticides and weed killers, not worrying that the run off has to go to water sources "someplace." We use water to keep these lawns immaculate and fill our pools, not worrying at all that someday, we might not have a clean source of water.
Leawood's reasoning for killing the coyotes after they're captured in live traps is that they will become problems for someone else. Sure, if they're simply taken to another neighborhood. But what do they think is going to happen even if this entire pack is caught and killed? In a few weeks, months or maybe even a year, another pack, ran out of their natural habitat by development, will enter their clean streets once again. So, it doesn't solve the problem even for their residents, it just stalls it for a time.
And, hey, Leawood, here's a newsflash: Not everyone lives in the burbs. There is such a thing as the country, and there are a few places left where coyotes, and other wild animals are still honored as part of the eco-system. Here, and in other places, they control the population of wood rats and other rodents. They act as our garbage disposals and feast on carcasses, keeping our environment clean.
Why not focus on enforcing your own leash laws. If cats are disappearing, it's a horrible thing, but what are cats doing roaming the streets of Leawood anyway? If small dogs are being attacked, why don't you advise residents to watch their dogs while they're outside, as we do? Capture the coyotes live, and relocate them, not to where they will be trouble for someone else, but where they can live a natural life, either someplace where there isn't development, or in areas where people expect animals to be a part of our earth.
There's still places like that outside of your perfect, weed free little world.
Labels: Coyotes, Leawood, suburban life