Las Vegas Sun

October 17, 2018

Currently: 68° — Complete forecast

Letter to the editor:

How to react to coyote sighting

Recently, a news report noted that a coyote entered a home through a doggy door. While rare, this can be frightening for both homeowner and those who hear about it.

Typically, coyotes are afraid of humans, and when hazing is used as an abatement method, they retreat. Often, it takes a few efforts before they get the message.

Nevada has been home to many wild animals that are losing their habitats due to urban sprawl and development, and they are bewildered and trying to survive. Residents are experiencing the consequences of this predicament when these animals wander into our spaces.

It’s natural for pet owners to be alarmed and want to protect their animals. But coyotes are vital native carnivores and we need them for important ecological functions such as controlling rodent populations, thereby curbing the transmission of disease.

Coyotes are responsible for eliminating sick animals from the gene pool and for contributing to biodiversity. Research has shown that trying to control coyote populations by killing them actually disrupts their social structure and encourages even more breeding (more coyotes).

For the best outcome, communities are wise to learn how to adapt and coexist. Safety precautions such as not leaving pet food or unattended pets outdoors, closing doggy doors at night, and making noise when spotting a coyote are good deterrents.