"Canada Goose's fur-free policy will spare untold thousands of coyotes from being maimed and killed in cruel metal leg-hold traps," she said.
Except it really wont.
Coyotes are killed in huge numbers and that’s not going to change anytime soon. So instead of making use of them they’ll now just be left to rot. Ranchers, trappers and hunters aren’t going to suddenly stop killing coyotes. Having value as a furbearer is far better than as a pest. Rather than sustainably managing populations many landowners will simply seek to have as many as possible killed off. If there’s no value in the fur then some trappers may switch to live catching for penning, which is far more cruel and causes more suffering than fur trapping.
Coyote fur is also a far more environmentally friendly material than faux fur. Modern leg-hold traps are designed to hold the animal without causing pain or injury. The outdated image of painful, steel-toothed traps are a world away from modern day trapping. Another positive of fur trapping is that it only takes place during the winter months, so there’s no risk of killing adults with pups. Of all the methods used to hunt and kill coyotes, fur trapping is probably one of the most humane and sustainable.
Have you ever tried to nap, but the kids wouldn't settle down? Then you can relate to this coyote parent at the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Elk Refuge in Wyoming.
While the pups are awake and tussling, the "wily" adults typically sleep during the day and hunt at night. Individual coyotes are often seen traveling and hunting alone or in pairs, they are typically part of a larger pack.
Video description: Three coyote pups tussle over a scrap of food on a grassy plain. One pup eventually wins the scrap and runs off screen. The parent coyote is curled up asleep next to the pups as they play.
Coyoteblr and urban wildlifeblr, my work is hosting an advanced online screening of “Don’t Feed The Coyotes,” which I believe was initially called “Urban Coyote” or something along those lines. Made by a really dedicated biologist/filmmaker.
Wolves getting exterminated from the lower 48 United States
This is an actual thing that happened.
In the 1800 and 1900s, wolves were seen as undesirable pests by settlers and colonizers, and likewise began the steady extermination of the North American grey wolf. The final nail in the coffin was the establishment of a federal wolf extermination program by the US government, which effectively eradicated the grey wolf from the lower 48 states (also yes this does make me unreasonably angry for many reasons). This was just one of many predator eradication programs out into practice during that time (again, yes this is bad and makes me very angry…moving on).
So anyways now there’s this big empty niche where wolves used to be. In theory, according to the ass-backwards understanding of ecology at the time, this would be all fine and dandy and nature would just leave it that way. Enter the coyote.
Coyotes are also canids, but they are smaller than wolves and typically go after different prey. Wolves and coyotes do compete for similar resources, but wolves have a size advantage, so coyotes were confined to the prairies and desert areas of Mexico and central North America. After the wolves were gone, coyotes started expanding their population and range into the areas previously occupied by wolves. Coyotes are incredibly adaptable and eventually spread all across the lower 48 states.
Here’s the thing: coyotes aren’t wolves. They occupy different trophic levels and hunt different prey. Coyotes are smaller than wolves and are less likely to hunt in packs (coyotes do sometimes hunt in packs making definitive statements about coyote behavior is asking for trouble) and cannot bring down some of the larger prey that wolves can. This means larger prey have less predatory pressure and can also increase their population, which in turn puts more pressure on what those large prey animals eat. Plus, the increase in coyote population puts more predatory pressure on the smaller prey items they hunt which can lower their overall population. To summarize: these things cause huge shifts in the ecosystem called trophic cascades that are incredibly complex (but usually there needs to be large apex predators like wolves, mountain lions, and bears to kind of keep things in check).
And here’s the kicker: coyotes were also a part of the predator extermination programs, but all human efforts to exterminate coyotes have failed MISERABLY. Even today, efforts to curtail coyote populations by lethal extermination never work cause coyotes just find a workaround and adapt.
Since 1995, wolves have been reintroduced to the lower 48 United States and are slowly making a comeback (despite MANY obstacles and roadblocks yiiiiikes), so we’ll see how that plays out in the ecosystem dynamics.
(Here’s the pic without the text if anyone’s interested)