by Isiah Holmes, Wisconsin Examiner
Wauwatosa residents have been increasingly speaking out against the killing of coyotes in the Milwaukee-area suburb. Protests have sprung up in the city in recent weeks, headed by the group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE). Local coyotes were blamed after a resident reported that a dog, left unattended, had suffered from puncture wounds. It took four months for police to interview the resident, and no further incidents had been reported. The city nevertheless moved forward with a coyote management plan which involves hiring the company Recon Trapping. The company’s owner, Christopher Wilson, uses steel jaw traps and other methods to trap coyotes.
Protesters who oppose trapping say the traps indiscriminately trap coyotes. The animal that caused the dog’s puncture wounds was never seen or identified. Last January, after a small terrier was taken by a coyote, the city of Wauwatosa hired the same trapper. A family of five coyotes was subsequently killed. At the time, residents also reported seeing a coyote limping through their neighborhood, dragging a trap. Protesters are concerned that the traps could also harm raccoons, opossums and cats.
There is also concern that killing random coyotes could change their pack structure. Due to specialized adaptations, when coyote populations are stressed, their litter sizes go up to replace the losses. Wauwatosa resident Karen Erdtmann said in a DxE press release that responsible dog ownership is also a factor. “When I lived in rural Wisconsin I could hear them calling at night,” said Erdtmann. “I keep a responsible watch on my dog, give shelter to the feral cats, and listen to their beautiful chatter. They are there for a reason, and we need to learn to co-exist.”
Shawn Rossler, a furbearer specialist at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) told Wisconsin Examiner that trapping is highly regulated. “The city of Wauwatosa has a coyote management and response plan,” said Rossler in a statement. “Response levels and actions within the plan do include regulated trapping as an option. The use of traps must adhere to the state of Wisconsin trapping regulations, other applicable state statutes or administrative codes, and city ordinances. Trapping in Wisconsin is highly regulated. Our Wisconsin trapping regulations include the use of traps that are selective, of appropriate size for the species, and have been tested through the best management practices.”
This story was written by Isiah Holmes, a contributor to the Wisconsin Examiner, where this story first appeared.
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