The life of a Coyote, depending on where they are born and live will determine their length of survival. Currently, various data reflect that extended life expectancy in captivity is 18 plus years while those Coyotes living in the wilds may only survive about 8 perhaps 10 years with any luck. Captivity provides clean water and above average food sources which reduces stress for most animals. Health is not a matter of luck in captivity rather being monitored and treated as needs arise helps increase an animals longevity. One need only look at the difference in environments to understand why captive animals live longer, less stress. Notice I did not state complete loss of stress is obtained! Being caged is its own form of stress, mental stress can be and is measured in a captive environment. The one real thing that is missing for captive predators is adequate exercise, not only physically but mentally as well. It is the author’s contention that for predators, proper exercise (of both mind and body) is in the chase. Don’t forget that lying in hiding / wait is a form of exercise, being able to accelerate from a prone or sitting position is part and parcel to a predators need for exercise. A predator’s acquisition (chase) of breeding mates, food and shelter requires a lot of land! There are few if any listed zoo enclosures large enough to provide the proper exercise for any animal let alone predators! Yes, Coyotes born in captivity live longer then their wild kin but is that a life for a predator or is it just a day to day existence?
Through out these United States many states have extremely limited hunting seasons and just about every community prohibits discharging firearms with in their territorial limits. One community in Tennessee (according to the Greenfield Sun) has an ordinance in place that allows its citizens to shoot nuisance animals for agricultural purposes. Yep – that includes Coyotes. As a matter of fact, Tennessee does not restrict hunting Coyotes for all intents and purposes. To this author’s knowledge there are only a few states wherein unregulated hunting / trapping Coyotes is permitted year round.
It is said that nature seeks to fill a vacuum hence animals (Coyotes in particular) will have increased birth rates when food and shelter are readily available. In conjunction with that line of reasoning Coyotes are very plentiful these days in that there are so few large predators! A hundred years ago it wasn’t humans that hunted the Coyote, there were wolves, large cats and bears killing Coyotes. Yet no records are provided by experts that Coyote numbers increased when the larger predators killed off the Coyotes. Many experts report that Coyotes can adjust to external environmental (hunting) pressures and increase their birth capabilities as needed. Activist say that killing Coyotes is not the solution, it is just killing another defenseless animal for no reason. As was pointed out in the opening sentence, nature abhors a vacuum. This author sides with the experts that as Coyotes are killed off more breeding occurs with larger litter numbers. Typically, Coyotes have litters of 5 to 6 pups at a time when “nature is in balance.” Coyotes are fairly monogamous in times of a stable environment or periods when the land and food supports the existing population. However, during altered environments female Coyotes have been known to take new mates and breed more then once per season.
Sadly, in the past and with out any regulations some animals have been hunted into near extinction! Hunting animals into extinction is not good as it serves no purpose! Expanding a but here – this author firmly believes that well regulated hunting and or trapping of Coyotes will eventually lessen their numbers!
The side benefit to harvesting a few animals in a timely manner is that unlike attempts to restore Wolves, the Coyote’s genetic diversity will sustain good bloodlines well into the foreseeable future. Unfettered by confinement of a cage, the Coyote will continue to do what they do really well, survive. In the wild today there are no large predators threatening the Coyote but that environment is slowly dwindling, building a cage man never imagined. The Coyote has no problem thriving in a urban area because we humans make it easy fro them. It is up to each of us to decide whether or not we want the Coyote to be a new next door neighbor.
Stay tuned, there is more to come on the Coyote Cam