Anna Maria ready to 
coexist with coyotes

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Maria Yatros meets up with a coyote as she bicycles on the “secret sidewalk” that runs along the Gulf in Anna Maria. Islander Photo: Gy Yatros

Coexistence with coyotes is key, says Anna Maria public works manager Dean Jones.

Jones began researching the city’s options for handling coyotes in November 2018 and presented his findings Jan. 10 at a city meeting.

He said coyotes are part of the ecosystem and are here to stay.

Without a vote from city commissioners, this is the city’s stance on the issue.

Holmes Beach and Longboat Key officials also have decided not to act to remove coyotes.

Attempts to humanely remove or eradicate coyote populations have proven near impossible due to their adaptability, intelligence and the difficulty trapping the animals, according to Jones.

When a coyote population is diminished, coyotes breed to make up for any loss, producing larger litters. If a family is driven from its territory, other coyotes will fill the vacancy, according to Jones.

Jones likened coyotes to alligators, in that coexistence is possible when people are educated on how to live with the animals.

Jones said coyotes might keep the island’s rodent population in check, and observed that aggression toward humans is rare. Steps can be taken to ensure the safety of pets, he added.

“They’re beautiful animals,” Jones said. “You have to respect them for what they are and I think, going forward, we can all live in some type of symbiotic relationship.”

Suzi Fox, director of the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, joined the presentation at the meeting, saying Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials trained her and AMITW volunteers how to track coyotes to protect sea turtle and shorebird nests.

Fox said she has seen numerous coyote tracks on the beach that would not be a threat to sea turtle nests. She was unsure of whether coyotes pose a threat to shorebird nests, but assured people attending the meeting the nests would be protected.

“Don’t be scared for the wildlife out here,” Fox said. “People need to be cautious, but nesting beaches will be fine.”

Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer also attended the meeting, providing pamphlets on how to live and deal with coyotes.

“They’re here,” Tokajer said. “Don’t feed them. Do not feed any of the wildlife. That’s not our place, it’s their job to find their own food.”

People interested in learning more about coyotes can call the FWC Southwest Regional Office at 863-648-3200, or go online to

People wishing to report aggressive animals can contact the FWC Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-3922.

4 thoughts on “Anna Maria ready to 
coexist with coyotes

  1. Rick Kaz

    This was a terrific article but only touched on life with wild animals. You would probably be very lucky to actually see a coyote as they are very elusive and crepuscular/nocturnal being active at dawn or dusk and during the night. And btw for the kind person from Illinois, coyotes also thrive in that beautiful state. Rule of thumb, leave them be and don’t feed them. See article about coyotes in Illinois.

  2. Jeff Porzelius

    Mr. Jones should rethink the city's position on Coyote control and do it quickly!! I've been to Anna Maria Island over a dozen times from Illinois, and would not return, especially with children , knowing Coyote's are allowed to roam freely. Let's see how beautiful Mr. Jones thinks they are once a small child is injured or killed by one of these predators, and the city has a lawsuit filed against it for hundreds of millions of dollars for their failure to provide adequate protection to the population of the island & the thousands of visitors that come there year. These aren't turtles or birds Mr. Jones, and you, Suzi Fox, and others who agree with you are endangering the lives of your residents and the life blood of the island.....the tourist industry with your politically correct willingness to place "the environment" ahead of the safety of the people you should be protecting.. I would encourage in the strongest terms, that the City Commissioners do their jobs and override this personal edict, and bring safety to the homes, streets, and beaches of Anna Maria once again, and then find a public works manager who places the safety of people ahead of predators.

    1. Tom

      Do you feel the city has to also eradicate those nasty, evil sharks? I'm sure many are staying away from the island because they are really scared of those too.

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