After months of aggressive coyotes attacking canine walkers and their pets, Nahant officers are taking the unprecedented step of hiring federal brokers to kill the wild animals.
The choice to fatally shoot coyotes — a species that gives many advantages to the native ecosystem — is drawing heavy criticism from animal advocates, who say they’re “deeply disappointed” in Nahant’s technique.
Nahant is the primary neighborhood in Massachusetts to rent U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services brokers to take out habituated coyotes.
“Wildlife Services will locate areas in town where it’s safe to discharge firearms, and they can attract the coyotes to that area,” Dave Wattles, black bear and furbearer biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, instructed the Herald.
“This is to remove these individuals that are causing this public safety threat,” he added. “And then with the coyotes that remain, it’s critically important that the public does not feed them and that the public hazes them, so they don’t develop the same aggressive behaviors.”
The city’s situation with coyotes got here to the forefront over the summer season, as aggressive coyotes attacked a number of canine and surrounded canine walkers. The city has obtained three studies within the final yr of a coyote taking a pet off its leash whereas beneath the management of its proprietor.
Officials estimate that there are 12 coyotes within the very small neighborhood — greater than what MassWildlife considers typical for a 1 square-mile suburban atmosphere.
The city has labored with MassWildlife to teach residents on methods to forestall conflicts with coyotes and tips on how to correctly haze coyotes so that they be taught to keep away from people, together with giving out whistles and air horns to residents. But the problem of aggressive coyotes didn’t go away, so that they’ve turned to Wildlife Services.
“These are federal agents who are specifically trained in wildlife removal and firearm safety,” Wattles stated.
The MSPCA is ripping Nahant’s killing technique, saying it’s not a long-term answer and warning that it may spark unintended penalties.
“We were deeply disappointed to hear that this is their plan,” stated Liz Magner, MSPCA’s animal advocacy specialist.
“If you kill off the alpha male or alpha female, the population could increase in the following year,” she later added. “When you take out a dad or a mom, it leads to the next-in-line coyote reproducing earlier and can make the problem even worse.”
Coyotes additionally convey vital advantages to the ecosystem, serving to management the native rat and rabbit populations, she stated.
The coyote inhabitants within the state is secure, and native communities have to give attention to educating residents about not feeding the wild animals, together with hazing coyotes, in keeping with Magner.
“There are known cases of Massachusetts citizens intentionally feeding coyotes, and that’s so irresponsible, putting people and pets at risk,” she stated. “If you see a coyote, do your best to scare it by making loud sounds, banging pots and pans together. Remind them that they should not be around people.”