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Longboat Key Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2018 1 year ago

Letters to the editor: Get rid of the island's coyotes

Longboat readers sound off.
by: Columnist Columnist

Coyotes on LBK not worth the risk

I am writing this letter to summarize the Aug. 30 coyote presentation by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at the Longboat Key Town Hall, and to state my feelings on what the town should do to address the issue.

My interpretation of the FWC traveling road show, with exhibits, was: "Coyotes are here to stay, so learn to live with them." 

FWC's presentation key points were:

  • Coyotes have been in the Florida panhandle since 1980.
  • Current studies have found them in all Florida counties.
  • Coyotes can swim.
  • Coyotes are very smart and can adapt and survive anywhere.
  • They eat bugs, birds, rodents, raccoons, berries, garbage, fruits and house pets.
  • They do not attack people, but may need to be scared away by making loud noises until they leave.
  • They carry diseases like other wild animals.
  • House pets should be kept on a short leash when walked.
  • Pets should not be let out alone especially at dusk or dawn.
  • Coyote populations are higher in Urban areas because of food sources.
  • Coyotes help to keep the "Natural Balance" of nature.
  • Trapping them is very difficult because they are so smart. FWC does not recommend tranquilizing and relocation, but prefers euthanasia.

The tone of the presentation was to coexist with them, learn how to protect your pets, and keeping them out of your personal spaces by not leaving pet food outside that will attract them. As a full-time resident of LBK, a lover of all wildlife, and a cat owner, I disagree with this recommendation. LBK residents should not have to carry a noise maker around when walking a dog, and constantly looking for coyotes when on a walk.

Coyotes will dig up turtle nests, and kill shore birds. Do we want to accept this behavior when many people work so hard to protect our turtles and birds? Removing them from LBK will not cause them to go extinct, their numbers are growing everywhere.

If we do not stop them now, they will become the next "raccoon problem" on LBK, only they are much smarter, and will eat your pet. FWC will honor any towns decision to remove them, and there would be no violation of state laws.

The town has heard the FWC coexistance pitch, they should now poll the LBK residents and determine if the majority want to accept the risks associated with doing nothing, or stop the growth while the numbers are small.

If preserving the "Natural Balance" of nature is the deciding factor, then I suggest we relocate alligators to LBK and put them in our many Ponds and Streams where they can maintain a "Natural Balance" there, as they have been doing in Florida for thousands of years.

 Greg Fiore

Longboat Key


First red tide, then a coyote on the beach

I was walking with my husband and daughter on the private beach between Longboat Key Club and Beachplace where we have been staying Aug. 6. 
Today (Sept. 5) is our last day of our holiday prior to returning to our home in Newport, South Wales. 
I was shocked initially with the red tide and then exacerbated by the coyote today!
We love coming to Sarasota and have made many friends here and have been made to feel welcome by everybody. 
However a polite request: please continue the lobbying as exemplified by your excellent coverage today to remove the coyotes. 
I want to walk the beach unfettered and not in fear of seeing a wild animal who may carry disease and infections.

Rhian Collingbourne 
Newport, South Wales, UK


Coyotes are unwanted on LBK

Last week the town hosted a seminar on the coyote presence on LBK.

Before I moved here full time, I spent 18 years in the foothills of Los Angeles County. The town I lived in was primarily ranches and farms before the developers moved in and built new neighborhoods.

They displaced the coyote population and other wildlife and we had to learn to live with them in their habitat. We had all type of wild animals including road runners who eventually were caught by the coyotes, unlike the outcome in the cartoon.

The point here is that we humans displaced the coyotes and had to learn to live with them.

In the presentation last week, the very first slides showed how the coyotes infiltrated Florida counties. They started in the panhandle and worked their way south over the years until every county in Florida has some coyote population. They are encroaching on our habitat and as was stated in the meeting, no one invited them and we do not want them.

Average age on LBK is over 70 years. Most residents have small dogs because they are easier to care for and some condo associations limit the size of dogs. In California, most of my neighbors , as well as myself, had larger dogs. We saw and heard coyotes on a daily basis. Occasionally we would see three or more of them and they can get very aggressive.

Smaller pets became coyote food.

 I understand the reluctance to destroy any wildlife, but to lose a pet that way is very heartbreaking

In summary, I believe that ridding the key of coyotes now is in the best interest of the residents. Dealing with raccoons and rats is easier that co-habituating with predators like coyotes.

I'm sure the swans, cats, birds, etc. will agree!

Ray Rajewski

Longboat Key

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