It does not work to trap and euthanize coyotes to protect outdoor domestic cats

It does not work to trap and euthanise coyotes to protect indoor-outdoor domestic cats because of the vacuum effect. It is the same effect which makes it inefficient to try and eradicate feral cats by killing them.

Biologist Rebecca Barboza, said that trapping and killing coyotes often has the opposite effect of the desired objective because it increases coyote population in the area from which the targeted coyotes have been removed.

A pair of urban coyotes in Palos Verdes. Photo by Michael Hakimi.

What is called "lethal control of coyote populations" is ineffective or not very effective because of the increasing coyote numbers which follows. The experts say that neighbouring coyote packs recognise that a space has been opened and they fill it.

What dictates coyote populations is the supply of food i.e. the food source and whether it is adequate and good plus competitors and available space.

I guess that there may be a temporary and immediate reduction in the death of domestic cats through coyote predation if the coyotes that are killing the cats have been targeted and killed. But this is not a long-term solution on my understanding.

And this weakness in method of trying to protect indoor/outdoor domestic cats from being preyed upon by coyotes is supported by another biologist working for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

This begs the question as to what can be done if there is an unacceptable number of coyotes occupying a human settlement or returning to that settlement over and over again. This is what is happening in Manhattan Beach in California.

The Manhattan Beach City Council is looking for a trapper of coyotes (followed by euthanasia) because citizens of that city want something done about them as they describe an invasion resulting in the death of at least one cat and probable deaths of several other cat companions.

One resident, Kristin Muller, told the council that she has lost three cats in two months to coyote attacks. She says that they return over and over again to her home and pick off the cats one by one. They tried defending their cats by putting out gallons of wolf urine to scare away the coyotes to no avail.

She says that she knows the coyotes are killing her cats because they are left on the ground half eaten. And it is incredibly distressing for her to see this for obvious reasons. She says they come back night after night because they learn where the food is.

Despite the advice, the council is going to hire a trapper. It would be nice to know what happens in the long term.

Coyotes are one of the most adaptable animal species on the planet. They have thrived in the US over the past 100 years and expanded from the states in the west to every state in the US except Hawaii. This is because predators of coyotes such as wolves and large wild cats (such as the puma I presume) have almost disappeared or the numbers have greatly reduced. This has allowed coyotes to expand and it is believed that there are between 250,000 and 750,000 coyotes in California.

Coyotes have robust reproductive cycles. In America 500,000 coyotes are killed annually according to National Geographic but the population continues to grow exponentially.


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