The Coyote Control Public Forum will be held on Thursday, November 8th from 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at City Hall.
COYOTE CONTROL AD HOC COMMITTEE
Meeting with the Community
November 8, 2018, 6pm, Rolling Hills City Hall
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: WHAT DO COYOTES LOOK LIKE AND DO THEY HAVE ANY PREDATORS?
A: The coyote is a medium-sized member of the Canidae family, which includes domestic dogs, wolves, and foxes. Coyotes are usually a grayish brown with reddish tinges behind the ears and around the face, but coloration can vary from a silver-gray to black. The tail usually has a black tip. Eyes are yellow, rather than brown like many domestic dogs. Most adults weigh between 25-35 pounds, with a few larger individuals weighting up to 42 pounds. The average lifespan of coyotes in the wild is six to eight years. In places where coyotes are the top predator, humans are usually their greatest threat. This is the case for Rolling Hills.
Q: WHAT IS A COYOTES NATURAL HABITAT?
A: Coyotes are very adaptable animals that live in territorial ranges, and these ranges are often adjacent to other coyote territories. These territories shall cover all their basic needs for food, water, shelter, and open space. Coyote territory can range anywhere from 15-20 miles. The more abundant the resources are in an area, the smaller the coyote territory size needs to be. For example, if food, water, shelter, and open space can be defended in a 10 mile range, the coyotes do not need to defend a 15-20 mile range. However, this might lead to more coyote packs within a certain range. The urban coyotes of Rolling Hills have no “natural habitat” because they were born and raised in the city or from packs in the surrounding South Bay cities that had moved in.
Q: WHAT ENTITY REGULATES WILD COYOTES?
A: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is the body that sets regulations with respect to coyotes. The state entity coordinates closely with the Federal entity or US Department of Fish and Wildlife agency especially when there is a report of an attack on humans by coyotes. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife just amended the Terrestrial Predator Policy in April 2018. The policy is aimed to modernize predatory management in California and provide direction as to how predators are managed going forward. An excerpt of the recently approved policy states the following:
Human-predatory conflict resolution shall rely on management strategies that avoid and reduce conflict that results in adverse impacts to human health and safety, private property, agriculture, and public and private economic impacts. Efforts should be made to minimize habituation of predators especially where it is leading to conflict. Human safety shall be considered a priority. Management decisions regarding human-predatory conflicts shall evaluate and consider various forms of lethal and nonlethal controls that are efficacious, humane, feasible and in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations. A diverse set of tools is necessary to avoid, reduce, and manage conflict. To ensure long time conservation of predators and co-existence with humans and wildlife, all legal tools shall be considered when managing to address conflicts.
Q: WHEN IS COYOTE’S MATING SEASON AND AVERAGE LITTER SIZE?
A: Mating season occurs once a year. Coyotes will have their pups in spring. Their litter size can range anywhere on average from 4 to 8 pups. Depending upon the environmental conditions of the previous year, coyotes may have more pups on the high side of the range if the conditions were good. If the environmental conditions were fair, their number of pups will be on the lower range. The pups will learn how to hunt from their parents throughout summer. By fall, if food is not abundant, the coyote pack will kick out some of the adolescent coyotes. The coyotes that are kicked out are called transient coyotes and will travel in between coyote territories or will try to join another pack
Q: ARE THERE BENEFITS TO HAVING COYOTES IN THE ENVIRONMENT?
A: Coyotes play the important role in the ecosystem in keeping rodent populations under control. Common rodents in a neighborhood include rats, possums, gophers, raccoons and rabbits. Rodents can carry disease and transmit those diseases through fleas or even unsanitary handling of food. Coyotes tend to catch these sick or injured rodents from over populating. Domestic animals left in the yard unattended are part of the ecosystem. This is a concern for small animals, because they cannot defend themselves. Coyotes are opportunistic and will try to catch domestic animals if the opportunity appears in front of them.
Q: WHAT IS THE CITY’S CURRENT COYOTE CONTROL/MANAGEMENT METHODS?
A: The City’s selected method of coyote management is trapping. The City contracts with two entities for trapping services, Los Angeles County Department of Agricultural Commissioner Weights and Measures (County) and Animal Pest Management (APM).
Q: HOW IS TRAPPING IMPLEMENTED?
A: Both the County and APM are licensed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and operate under the rules and regulations of this agency. To start, both service providers survey areas with reported coyote sightings and concerns and, if permitted by the property owner, the County and APM will scope out an appropriate place to set traps on private properties. The traps are about 6 feet in length and generally buried in dirt. The traps are snare traps and catch the coyotes alive. Traps are left out for a period of two weeks and during this period the service provider will check on the trap daily, generally in the early morning hours to be able to address the removal of traps and/or animals without the presence of residents. Traps have been effective 95% of the time. The County and APM are given permission from the City and the City’s law enforcement agency to shoot a roaming coyote in open areas provided the conditions are proper and evaluated to be safe for the surrounding residents. The firearms approved to be used on coyotes are small caliber firearms so as to minimize ricochets and/or unintentional particle discharge. Once a coyote is trapped, the County will put down the animal using a firearm on-site. APM puts the animal in a chamber laced with carbon dioxide and puts down the coyote prior to transporting the animal to the lab. The County places the carcass in a bag and both the County and APM take the remains to the UC Cooperative Extension for research. If possible, the County takes the animal’s blood sample and tests it for different types of diseases including rabies.
Q: WHY CAN’T THE COYOTES BE RELOCATED?
A: Relocation is
also not allowed in California per the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. A relocated coyote will often try to find its way back to its home shifting conflicts with humans to another area. Relocated coyotes are unfamiliar with their new surroundings; therefore, the animal may starve or wander into urbanized areas looking for food, posing danger to humans and themselves. Coyote professionals consider relocation an inhumane way to treat coyotes as their experiences have shown that relocated coyotes often reach their end of life with slow or very painful deaths.
Q: CAN A RESIDENT LEGALLY ATTEMP TO TRAP COYOTES ON THEIR OWN PRIVATE PROPERTY?
A: The following is a brief overview of the process, requirements, and where to obtain additional information: Coyote trapping, even on private property, is lawful only when performed by a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) licensed individual. The licensed individual can be a professional service provider (governmental or commercial) or a private citizen; licensing requirements are the same in both instances. If licensed by the state, an individual may legally trap in Los Angeles County. Coyotes are included in CDFW’s “Non-Game and Furbearing” classification and it should be noted that licensing requirements (an approximately 180-page PDF study guide and subsequent in-person test) covers all animals in that classification, not just coyotes. Complete information about licensing fees, requirements and testing can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Trapping. Licensed trappers must provide all of their own equipment (traps, bait, etc.) and disposal of trapped animals must be in accordance with all state, county and local rules. See CDFW’s website (www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Trapping), or contact their local office by phone at (562) 342-7100 for further information.
Q: HOW MANY COYOTES HAVE BEEN TRAPPED IN ROLLING HILLS?
A: As of October 1, 2018, the City’s records show there are 60 coyotes trapped in Rolling Hills. This data is a running total from March 2012. This year, 2018 alone, records show that 15 coyotes were trapped.
Q: WHAT IS THE MONTHLY AVERAGE COST OF TRAPPING SERVICES?
A: The cost is dependent on the number of sightings and conflicts reported. For the month of September 2018, the County set six traps and, of the six traps, two traps were successful. In September 2018, the service cost was approximately $4,500.
Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I ENCOURTER A COYOTE?
A: First, immediately pick up children and pets. Then implement hazing strategies below. Once you start hazing do not stop until the coyotes have left the area. Never turn your back or run from a coyote. Hazing is a process designed to scare wild animals away and to instill in them a fear of humans. Do not haze a coyote if it is cornered, injured or has pups. In the event you encounter a coyote under these circumstances, maintain eye contact with the coyote and slowly back away. There are a variety of hazing strategies:
- Make yourself as large as possible. Stand up straight and wave your arms over your head.
- Make loud noises. Scream, yell or whistle.
- Be forceful and direct your voice at the coyote.
- Be animated.
- Throw rocks, sticks, anything you can pick up.
- Take steps towards the coyote. Be aggressive.
- Always look directly at the coyote. Never turn your back to it or run away.
- When walking, carry an item like a stick, golf club, water gun or air horn.