Why did "officials" remove a coyote from New York City?
Probably because taxpayers freaked out and rang their phones demanding they be protected from the "wild predator who doesn't belong in the city."
When I recently attended a wildlife control conference, the wildlife control operators there talked at length about being called to capture (and kill) coyotes that really weren't doing a thing wrong. The trappers themselves felt the coyotes should stay, but taxpayers hollered to the towns, and towns hollered to wildlife control. Wildlife control operators often have contracts with townships and while they can offer advice and guidance, when it comes down to it, officials make the decision. And the coyotes pay with their lives.
People like to blame "hunters and trappers" for the death of animals removed in the name of wildlife control. But as a person who owned a wildlife control business, I can assure you that more and more animals die in the "humane traps" of average home owners who just don't want raccoons and opossums and bunnies and squirrels in their yard and decide to buy a "Hav-A-Heart" to fix the problem themselves. For those people willing to pay to have someone else do the work, behind every successful wildlife control business are a few hundred or thousand people who each year decide they can't stand a woodchuck hole in their yard.
As a part-timer, I had the luxury of telling people to go bark at the moon. "What kind of damage is the animal causing?" I'd ask. And when they said "There's no damage. I just am concerned because I can smell skunk in my neighborhood" or "He's just sitting in the tree" or "The squirrels are eating my bird seed," I would give them a talk about tolerating wildlife and refuse to provide trapping as a solution. But then, I wasn't feeding a family of four on wildlife control, either. Nor was I a town official whose phone was ringing off the hook.
I received a call last year from a woman who wanted a cat "saved" from her property. (Actually, the cat annoyed her and she wanted him gone). She explained that her manner of dealing with skunks was to bait a cage trap (so-called "humane trap") catch the skunk, and feed it rat poison. When it wouldn't eat the poison, she mixed it with cat food and left the skunk there until it ate the food in desperation. Then as the skunk staggered in the trap, dying, she released it, so she wouldn't have to despose of the carcass. And she considers herself an animal lover.
I also ran into people who professed to love animals, who were causing the animal problem themselves. "We have a three-legged deer in our yard. We started feeding her, and now she's getting beaten up by the deer who also come to eat now that they have found the food." Answer: Stop. Feeding. The. Deer. Their answer? "We couldn't possibly do that." So the three-legged deer gets the stuffings kicked out of her daily, because she and twenty other deer can't resist the piles of corn.
At the funeral of a family friend I met a man who found an old conibear trap in his garage and set it over a woodchuck hole to kill a chuck. He caught a neighbor's curious kitten instead and killed it. He then proceeded to treat me to a rant about how "inhumane" the traps were and how "awful trappers were." Apparently it did not occur to him to have remorse for the woodchuck he had planned to strangle to death, and the kitten he succeeded in destroying. It wasn't HIS fault. It was THE NASTY TRAP.
Coyotes have been common in urban centers for quite some time. While occasional problem animals do need to be removed if they become a danger, most are just fine doing what coyotes do.
Our resident coyotes howl from the hills almost every night. It's eerie, but beautiful. Yes, it is scary when you go to the porch, flip on the light, and the howling...stops. Ummm...close, are they?
Or when you come home at night and nearly trip over a black bear in your bird feeder. Hiyah! Want to hear the heart go pitter-pat?
Everyone in New York State except NYC and Long Island have had healthy coyote populations for quite awhile. And in fact, there probably are more coyote in NYC and LI than officials know. After all, Hal wasn't the only coyote in the City this month.
Foxes are also highly common in residential areas.
When you read that "Wildlife Services killed X number of animals" or "town officials hired a wildlife control company to remove X animal," keep in mind why they did it.
Because average people like you and I rang municipal phones demanding "something be done," Hal couldn't remain under the radar. Tolerance of wild animals starts with us. Once it reaches our government, if they act, it's because WE demanded they do something. And between taxpayers and one coyote, the coyote will lose almost every time.
There are those who demand we do "the humane thing" and relocate urban wildlife "to the wilds, where they belong." Well, relocation is highly traumatic, and often results in the death of the animals. And now "Hal" is dead, removed by our intolerance, and killed by our thoughtfulness. But ultimately, the responsibility doesn't lie with the officials who ordered him gone, or the people who sedated him to be tagged.
It lies with the citizen taxpayers who made phones go jingle, jingle, jingle.