There has been a lot of mainstream media coverage this week about the incident in Aurora when two young children were abruptly introduced to nature in their own backyard. There has also been a lot of sensationalist misinformation posted about this incident with headlines like ‘Caught on Video: Coyote Pounces on Child in Aurora’. This kind of hyperbole is intended to draw in viewers with the shock and awe approach that is now all too common in what sadly passes today for journalism.
We are constantly building on the wildlands that are home to many kinds of animals. In Barrie, we need to look no further than the much needed Harvie Road overpass that although vital to our growth is uprooting many kinds of wild animals. The forests and fields on both sides of that road are filled with life ranging from deer to coyotes and after we take away their feeding grounds where are they supposed to go to eat? Well, the answer is obvious.
This video, taken by a personal surveillance system, shows a coyote wandering into an enclosed space that used to be his or her home. The animal does not understand development nor does it have ANY desire to interact with man. To this coyote, we are the predators, and for it to wander into our world means it is likely lost or otherwise displaced.
Reports say the child was not hurt, and we are all very happy for that. Regardless, some residents in the area are already calling for a hunt to kill the coyote. Why? It is obvious from the video that the animal found itself trapped in a world foreign to it, and it panicked when cornered. If the coyote meant to hurt the little girl, she would be dead. It is just that simple. Coyotes take down 200-kilogram deer, so a child would be no challenge. What most media fail to mention is that coyotes hunt in packs, and this one was alone. So, it was not hunting but scrounging. It likely has cubs nearby and it was looking for something convenient to take home.
These animals are dangerous, but to them, so are we. Our best defence is to leave them alone and to build our homes in a way that restricts their access. If that opening to the road had been closed, or if the woman who saw the coyote enter the yard at the beginning of the recording had raised the alarm, none of this would have happened. Killing the residents of our wildlands because we took their homes is simply not the best option, and media beating the rating drums every time an incident like this occurs does nothing but cause panic.
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