Close this search box.
Close this search box.
Darwin Wiggett | oopoomoo

Calgary’s Coyote Conundrum: Cull or Coexist?

A coyote cull may sound like a quick and easy solution, but it can cause more harm than good

Last week Chewie, a feisty Yorkshire Terrier, was surrounded by coyotes and barely survived when its owner, Lucas Ramage, scared the pack away. 

The City of Calgary warns dog owners to keep an eye on their Fido, Spot, Benji, Toto or Lassie.

Lucas Ramage with Chewie | Calgary Herald

According to a Calgary spokesperson, the city received ten reports of coyote activity in Briar Hills, where Chewie was attacked, in October. 

Worried about their children and pets’ safety, some residents are calling on the city to cull the coyotes. 

A coyote cull may sound like a quick and easy solution, but it can cause more harm than good

Coyotes are pack animals, and when coyotes are killed, it disturbs a pack’s social structure. The result is a chaotic butterfly effect of negative outcomes. 

Female coyotes become more likely to breed, which ultimately causes the population to grow. Coyotes also protect their territory. When a pack is broken up, it allows other animals to enter, including both predators and prey.

When the pack structure is broken, solitary coyotes become more common. These solitary animals often live in marginal habitats and then rely on alternate food sources like garbage or even pets, like small dogs and cats. 

This time of year, young coyotes are also on their own for the first time. These young coyotes are more likely to be drawn to easy food attractants. Hence the higher risk for pet owners.

The city has stated that a coyote cull is a last resort. 

For now, Calgary is practicing hazing techniques to teach coyotes to fear humans. This is done by scaring the animals with loud noises and, in some cases, rubber bullets. Hazing is intended to lower the chance of future conflicts with coyotes. 

A coyote cull is not the answer. 

Learning to co-exist with these animals should be our top priority. 

That means educating ourselves on local wildlife and doing our part to reduce conflicts. This includes keeping pets on a leash, picking up after them, and leaving animals like cats indoors.

As with the bears in Banff, Canmore and Jasper residents must take reasonable care to animal-proof their yards and homes to ensure that wildlife isn’t unnecessarily sacrificed because of our negligence. 

Share this story

Stories in your Inbox, daily or weekly

Choose the types of stories you receive.

Related Stories