July 13, 2009

Coyotes hard to outsmart

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Just how wily are coyotes? Mike Stark of the Associated Press has an informative look at how coyotes outsmart the various methods used to deter them. Researchers at the nation’s only large-scale coyote research center near Utah State University deploy some 100 coyotes to test the latest in non-lethal devices and techniques. One such a device, which flashes lights and blares the sound of bowling alleys, car crashes and people yelling, prompted fear among a few coyotes. Others ignored the device, and those in a third group were frightened at first but overcame their fears.

Coyotes, it turns out, learn fast and share information with each other. Coyote control is no laughing matter, though. They kill millions of dollars worth of livestock every year, and ranch owners have tried to control them using sodium cyanide pellets. Conservationists have petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the pellet system.

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