No easy solution for coyote influx

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A coyote makes its way onto Gulf Drive from 71st Street in Holmes Beach in September. Islander File Photo: Toni Lyon

Inaction might be the only action when it comes to coyotes on Anna Maria Island.

At least, that’s the conclusion of officials in Holmes Beach and Longboat Key for now.

Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer said in an interview Nov. 15 that as long as the coyotes do not become aggressive, no action will be taken to remove them.

For now, the department will monitor reports of coyotes.

Longboat Key officials met with a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission representative about removing coyotes from the town and then decided not to act because any coyotes trapped there would be killed.

However, in Anna Maria, public works manager Dean Jones continued to research coyote removal, saying he has spoken with two trappers.

Also, the FWC reached out to Anna Maria officials to offer technical assistance and regulations regarding the relocation of coyotes, according to the commission’s Southwest region public information coordinator, Melody Kilborn.

Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy planned to address coyotes at the Coalition of Barrier Island Elected Officials meeting set for Nov. 13, but the meeting was canceled. The next BIEO meeting will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.

Murphy said in an interview Nov. 15 there would be “some kind of a concerted effort” with Holmes Beach and possibly Longboat Key. He added he had not discussed the issue with Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie, but he planned to do so.

Murphy said the efforts are in the fact-finding stage.

According to Kilborn, removal of coyotes from an area is ineffective because coyotes quickly move in where others were removed and their litters compensate for those lost from a pack.

Also, removing coyotes is a difficult task.

Tranquilizers are ineffective because they do not take immediate effect. So coyotes might evade their captors before going down.

According to Tokajer, snare traps are effective but inhumane and, he said, capturing coyotes in cages only works about 10 percent of the time.

Captured coyotes must be euthanized or relocated, but neither action is simple.

A coyote only can be relocated to 40 contiguous acres within the same county where it was captured, and there must be written permission from the landowner accepting the animal.

Tokajer said killing coyotes is not viable — since the animals have done no harm.

“This is their environment just as much as ours,” the chief said. “So as long as they’re not a danger to people, I don’t know that there’s any action to take at this time and, speaking to FWC, they have the same feeling.”

While Holmes Beach and Longboat Key officials have made their decision on the matter and shared their information with Anna Maria officials, Murphy said he wants more research.

“That was their decision,” he said. “I don’t know where we are yet because we’re not finished studying it. It’s kind of premature at this point to say where we’re going to go until I can get all the facts in and have a discussion with the commission.”

Murphy said he is still exploring the city’s options.

People can reduce the potential for problems with wildlife by removing food sources, such as garbage and pet food, from around their homes.

People who encounter a coyote should wave their arms and make loud noises to scare off the animals if they come close, according to the FWC.

Cats should be kept indoors and owners should walk dogs on a short leash and avoid areas with heavy ground foliage.

8 thoughts on “No easy solution for coyote influx

  1. Janet Aubry

    Lisa Neff’s coyote article was properly researched and presented. This year we have already seen the county destroy a viable osprey nest with young at the Holmes Beach tennis courts. Why? Because some people would rather exterminate a once endangered bird and its young, enjoyed by many, because they don’t like bird poop on the outdoor tennis courts and are too lazy to toss a bucket of water out there or hose it.The county claimed they had an “expert” pronounce the nest uninhabited – a claim I and the others who enjoyed that nest daily called b.s. on in this very publication. We had dated photos. Within days, the county scurried out and put up a platform for the birds. I was somewhat encouraged, however, months later, I see the osprey are back but they are not using the platform. They should have been left alone. Somebody killed everything alive in Spring Lake including the water – pretty sure it was the county. It goes on and on. What is wrong with people? The island authorities are responsibly managing things as though this is an environment where we take special care of wildlife. This is not Kentucky and they are not going to let wild packs of coyotes eat all the sheep, cows, dogs and cats on the island. Get a grip. I say they stay. Anyone who wants to shoot them needs to know we don’t have hunting season here on the island no matter what they think. And if we ever do, I hope I get a say on what we have open season on first. The county may want to lay low for a while. The state too. Anyone with half a brain and an education past the third grade can see monitoring the coyotes for now is easily the best and only answer.

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  2. Ramona

    How did the cyotes come to live on Anna Maria Island? This island is half a mile wide and 7 miles long. Coyotes are native to desert and prairie and not beaches. Raccoons, opossums and squirrels are not a threat to humans and animals. So the sarcasm is unwarranted. Many people are afraid of the howling and packs of coyotes. I thought trapping was a very humane way to rid the animals.

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  3. Miquel

    With over development occurring further into the wild causing the loss of habitat and food source, all animals are forced to seek refuge elsewhere. The Island needs to realize that and be proactive in minimizing the increased sightings of coyotes. With proactive wildlife management humans and wildlife can find a balance. Perhaps a solution for both sides of the isle if at all possible would be to somehow sterilize them to control their population. Whichever solution is implemented try not to be reactive instead of proactive. Don’t wait for a rabid animal to wreak havoc on an unfortunate child, pet or adult.

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  4. Joe

    Killing coyotes is the only way to “manage” them. Florida law considers them a nuisance animal that may be hunted day or night all year long with no bag limit. They are also an excellent vector for rabies.

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  5. Fred Gosney

    They’re the most cunning animal and will breed into large packs I’m from Kentucky living on a large farm We have large packs And their main diet is white tail deer and small animals. Our rabbits and game birds are getting Very scarase. And we don’t go out on farm without a rifle they will also go after our calves so what is more humane getting rid of the coyotes or letting them kill and eat people’s pets They are wild animals and if you see one in the daytime there hungry I have lived on our farm for 52 years and only hear the packs when there on the hunt and kill to eat problem will only get bigger as food deminishes

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  6. Cash Banister

    So, there is no solution…just let the coyote population continue to proliferate unchecked until they take over completely. That is so typical of the Insanity that flourishes in Florida. The wackiest place ever.

    Reply
    1. bonnerj

      Should we also remove raccoons? Opossums? Squirrels (darn them for messing in my potted plants to bury nuts) and the pet cats that people allow outdoors to kill birds? Wildlife is …. WILD. No one has reported any sort of threatening or dangerous incident involving a coyote, so why not let them be? — Bonner

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      1. David Julian

        Here’s why. Do more research. Acknowledge that coyotes are relatively large, carnivorous preditor canines. They are not the same category as your examples. Why wait until someone is bitten or a pet killed? Coyotes can carry rabies, distemper, and other diseases. Check the statistics. Be proactive with human health and safety as the priority. Humanely relocate them from AMI, back to their natural habitat before they reproduce and run in packs while in survival mode within the confines of this small island. Uncomfortable yet?

        Reply

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