Oshawa approves coyoye management plan that includes lethal action as last resort

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Published January 24, 2022 at 3:19 pm

The City of Oshawa is moving forward with a coyote management plan that includes hiring licensed hunters and trappers as a last resort, despite a plea from one councillor who believes hunting the animals will not solve the problem.

Brian Nicholson tried to separate the motion a second time to amend a city by-law that would allow the hunting of the animals, but his motion was against defeated on the council floor.

Nicholson insists hunting problem coyotes “won’t work” in eliminating animals who have shown to be dangerous and while he said he supports the rest of the management plan, the hunting and trapping amendment to the motion prevented him from supporting it.

Several children were bitten by the animals last year and the Coyote Response Management Plan is Oshawa’s answer to cries from concerned parents as to what the City was going to do about it.

The plan outlines the community’s responsibility to coyotes and all wildlife in general, with the underlying principle that residents must learn to co-exist with wildlife but that the safety of people and household pets are a priority in managing coyote interactions.

The use of lethal action would only be used only when all other options have been exhausted, and plan lists steps that would have to be followed if a person is bitten by a coyote before the use of firearms or traps would be sanctioned:

  • Interviewing witnesses to incidents
  • Inspection of photographic and video evidence of incidents
  • Collection of information such as size, colour, unique markings, etc.
  • Placement and monitoring of trail cameras
  • Observation by officers

The City by-law requires an exemption to allow the discharge of firearms south of Winchester Road and in the vicinity of the hamlets of Raglan and Columbus.

Much of the Coyote Response Management Plan was dedicated to education and the understanding that Coyotes serve a significant role in ecosystems by helping to control the population of rodents, rabbits and other urban mammals.

“A community-wide coyote education program is necessary for achieving co-existence among people, household pets and coyotes,” the report stated, with “preventive practices,” such as the removal of food attractants, habitat modification and responding appropriately when interacting with coyotes “key to minimizing potential negative interactions.”

Solutions for coyote conflicts must address both problematic coyote behaviours (such as aggression toward people and household pets) and problematic human behaviours (intentionally or unintentionally feeding coyotes and leaving household garbage unattended) equally, the report also declared.

The City will seek an emphasis on non-lethal coyote management techniques, with the lethal removal of a coyote an option only if the animal’s “undesirable behaviour” cannot be changed by other methods, or if the coyote is sick or injured or has bitten a person.

The plan was approved by a 10-1 vote.

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