New York hamlet holds great American debate on coyotes

A village about 35 miles outside of New York city has become a microcosm for a broader US debate on what should be done when coyotes get too close and personal with residences.

A coyote

A coyote Image by Dru Bloomfield / CC BY 2.0

Fueled by a recent spate of attack on pets, the plush up-market area of Chappaqua - once best known as the home of former US president Bill Clinton - has counted 160 incursions by the wild animals into locals’ backyards since 2013.

ABC News reported that this in turn has led to an escalating debate on how their activities should be curtailed in their inter-action with humans and their pets.

When, they ask, is it ok to kill a coyote? There have been angry exchanges on social media with some using such terms as ‘coyote-jihad’ and ‘death-map’.

Wildlife authorities say there has been a proliferation in coyote numbers since wolves and cougars number dropped over the past few decades. This, in turn, has led to their incursions out of the wild and into villages on the East Coast. They have even become news after being spotted in New York City's Central Park.

There are two camps on the coyote issues – one wants to protect them while the other want greater protection of their pets and wider use of “lethal solutions” against coyotes. And even though there have been no report of attacks on human, the pet-protection camp fear the canines may begin attacking helpless children.

However a Coyote Awareness Committee wants more tolerance, saying attacks on humans are very unusual and propose keeping pets on their leashes.

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