coyoteCoyotes are beautiful, smart, highly adaptable, and misunderstood animals. But judging from media coverage of coyote sightings, it’s obvious that some people in Florida don’t appreciate the animals as we do. Fortunately, recent news articles have also included knowledgeable voices.

In an article this week in the Ocala Star Banner, Joy Hill, a spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), reminded readers that coyotes can be found in all 67 Florida counties and that although coyotes will prey on cats and dogs, such incidents are rare. She also explained that trying to eliminate coyotes isn’t the answer. “They’re here and they’re here to stay,” she said. “Efforts to eliminate them are not successful. They are real survivors.”

Sunday’s Orlando Sentinel featured an excellent Q&A about coyotes in Florida. In the article, Terry Doonan, an FWC biologist, reiterated the point that people should not look to trappers or the state wildlife agency for solutions to human-coyote conflicts. “People need to understand that there won’t be any ‘control’ of coyotes in the sense of managing where they occur, how many there are or how they behave. Coyotes are going to act like coyotes.”

Gary Morse, another FWC spokesperson, gave good advice about living with coyotes in an article last month in the North Fort Myers Neighbor. “The answer to the problem here is prevention,” he said. “Don’t let them become comfortable in and around human habitation. Pet food, bird seed, trash – don’t leave it out.”

Please contact ARFF if your city or homeowners association is considering hiring a trapper to kill coyotes. ARFF will work to encourage humane, proactive approaches to decrease negative encounters with coyotes.

Visit ARFF’s website to learn more about coyotes.