News / Perspective
LBReport.com Contributing Editor / Animal Behavior Specialist Miriam Yarden On CSULB's Unwelcome Coyotes & Formerly Welcome Feral Felines
(July 15, 2008) -- As first reported last night (July 14) by LBReport.com, CSULB has issued a statement indicating that CA's Dept. of Fish and Game is looking into the situation involving coyotes sighted on campus...and CSULB is awaiting a report from that agency expected in the coming days. (To view CSULB's July 14 statement in full, click here.)
LBReport.com Contributing Editor / Animal Behavior Specialist Miriam Yarden offers the following perspective:
[Ms. Yarden's text]
Regarding the coyote sightings on the campus of CSULB, this is nothing new. We in Long Beach have lived with urban wildlife for many years (coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks and opossums, etc.).
As for the concern for children on the campus, the same common sense supervision is required as any other where children are present.
Indeed, coyotes prey on smaller animals, including cats. However, when the cat-shelters were razed, the cats were deprived of a relatively safe haven, which exposed them to predators even more. Thus, the problem was exacerbated not by the cats or the coyotes but those who took it upon themselves to eliminate whatever protection the cats had.
It would be far more prudent, simpler and economically more feasible to trap the coyotes and relocate them. After all, there are fewer of them. The cats have been on the campus for years, dedicated volunteers have been, and are taking care of them (bearing the expense themselves, NOT the university).
However, it is unrealistic to expect that one hundred cats, many of whom are feral, will find homes. Placement in a facility, euphemistically called a "shelter," is tantamount to a death sentence. Contrary to popular belief, "shelters" offer a limited service to these animals, namely storage, extremely limited adoption and destruction.
Allow the spay/neuter efforts to continue and allow the volunteers to do what they do best: care for the campus cats. Control members of the student body who adopt cats at the beginning of the school year, care for them and when school is out, abandon them on the campus, only to repeat it the next semester or term. Police the area better to prevent other resident dumping unwanted cats on campus. Now these unfortunate cats find themselves in danger of their lives.
Eliminating the eminently capable and much-needed, natural rodent-control which they provide is counterproductive. What will the university do when field mice and rats proliferate and run rampant on campus? Declare a war against them too?
Why is it that when faced with animal-related crises, we humans always blame the animals and go to war against them?
Why can't we learn at long last, that spaying and neutering reduces such sad situations, that we must be the responsible ones and not allow, in this case at least, CSULB to embark on a medieval cat-war?
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