Coyotes have long been one of the most
controversial of all non-game animals. Agricultural interests have urged its
control by whatever means necessary so that actual and potential livestock
losses may be eliminated. Since 1891, when the first programs aimed at control
were begun in California, nearly 500,000 Coyotes have been reported destroyed at
a cost of an estimated $30 million of the taxpayers' money.
Environmentalists firmly believe that the Coyotes are necessary to preserve the
balance of nature. Some sportsmen feel the Coyote is responsible for the
declines in game species. Biologists agree that individual animals preying on
livestock and poultry should be destroyed but that the species as a whole is not
necessarily harmful, because much of its diet is made up of destructive rodents.
Biologists also agree that Coyote populations have no lasting effects on other
wildlife populations. So the controversy rages on.
Coyotes have recently been classified as non-game animals in California and may
be taken throughout the year under the authority of a hunting license.
Meanwhile, despite the constant hunting and intensive efforts to reduce the
Coyote population, on a quiet night the song of the "Little Wolf" may
still be heard throughout the Desert Southwest.
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