My Unapologetic Love Letter to Coyotes

Something you should know about me is that useless animals facts are like my superpower and also the reason nobody wants to invite me over for cocktails. What better place to share all of the random information stored in my head, than here? Taw-da! And we’ll start with one of my all-time fave creature, the brilliant and fuzzy coyote.

I love coyotes. And I know that this is an unpopular opinion but I think it’s mostly because they’re misunderstood. Afterall, if you look at them, they’re a mix between a badass wolf and an adorable dog and who doesn’t love dogs? The answer: Psychos, that’s who.

You’d be surprised by how cool these furry little beasts are, in fact, they’re a lot like us. One of the foremost coyote researchers, Bob Crabtree, wrote, “The similarities between the social and breeding systems of the coyote and humans are striking. Coyotes like humans, attempt to mate for life, are territorial, and build social units consisting of family members with parents, brothers, and sisters helping to raise the young.” How adorable is that? Every coyote family is basically like the Golden Girls if the men had stuck around.

Recently, I read an article that explained that once in a while a female coyote will mate with a domestic male dog and most of the time the puppies die because the dog runs off (and never pays child support) and the coyote mom doesn’t know how to raise them alone. When she first met Fido, she thought that everything would be different, but then everything went to shit, her life fell apart, she started drinking and before she knows it she’s an alcoholic living behind a nail salon in Reno. It’s tragic.

But the real tragedy is how we, humans, treat coyotes and I blame it largely on greed and the agricultural industry. Note, I grew up on a farm and support small family farms. Still, we have to acknowledge that maybe the way we do things isn’t all that good for our ecosystem. For example, when European settlers moved to the US in droves, they thought it was a super good idea to kill off all of the Buffalo, an animal native to the US. Then they brought in cows for reasons that don’t make any sense because there was plenty of Buffalo to go around. Then, this insane murder domino effect happened that is honestly a total mindfuck.

Let me start by saying I don’t have a problem with people hunting to feed their families (again, spent lots of time on a farm as a kid). Honestly, it’s a lot better for the environment and the animals than, say, a factory farm. But I definitely disturbing when people hunt purely for fun. Seriously, if you go out and kill things that you don’t eat because you think it’s a jolly good time with your homies, I can only assume that you weren’t hugged enough as a child and you’re broken on some deep, deep level that is very, very sad.

In addition, I don’t get this logic:

–>Kill all the buffalo and replace them with cows.

–>Kill all the wolves to protect the cows.

–>Kill all of the deer because now, without predators, they’re overpopulated.

–>Kill all the coyotes to protect the cows and deer (because we didn’t have adequate research to tell us that coyotes mostly eat RODENTS which is important).

–>Kill all the rabbits because now they’re overpopulated because we’ve killed all the wolves and coyotes.

–>Kill all the rats because now they’re overpopulated because we killed all of the coyotes.

–>Etc., Etc., Etc., FOR ETERNITY.

Basically, being human is just making bewildering decisions until we die.

In Utah, there’s a bounty on coyotes and people go out and kill them by the hundreds and the taxpayers of Utah pay for it. A lot of the arguments for the culling is basically, “there are too many of them, it’s necessary,” to which I say, that is some shockingly egotistical batshit. We’re a part of the world, not in charge of it. Every single thing on this planet was perfectly designed for a purpose. The worst part is that our short-sighted solutions often cause the problem in the first place. National Geographic recently published an article that explained how humans are actually the cause of urbanized coyotes, “In recent years coyotes have discovered what you call “a new refuge … chock full of food and cover where no one ever shot at you.” Because lunatics go out into the world and kill hundreds of coyotes at once, using them for target practice, Coyotes have learned that the wild is unsafe for them so they’re moving into cities where they’re safer. Also, when you kill Coyotes, they breed more, so our uber primitive methods of control actually cause more coyotes. They are the Harvard grads of the wild west, my friends. They’re sitting in sagebrush solving quantum physics while we scratch our asses and bang on stuff “Bam-Bam” style.

It’s not that I don’t understand the fear of coyotes. Sometimes they kill livestock, sometimes they kill your neighbor’s Shitzu, Fifi, and that really sucks. I’d be super bummed if something ate Oliver. But at the end of the day, that’s just part of living on a planet with other things. For our own good, we need our ecosystem intact, and the planet is better at regulating itself without our help. We need to learn how to coexist with the rest of the planet because it’s just the most logical and mutually beneficial thing to do.

In the book Track of the Coyote, Tom Skeele is quoted as saying “I think the future of predator control is dependent largely upon our ability to get away from looking at wildlife as being either good or bad but simply to respect its higher purpose, and I don’t mean its purpose for humans.”

And to that I say, HOORAY. Then I fist bump absolutely nobody in particular.

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