For Immediate Release: October 14, 2010
Nature Saskatchewan Passes Resolution Condemning Coyote Bounties
Saskatchewan — Scientists and conservationists praised Nature Saskatchewan’s membership for passing a groundbreaking resolution recognizing coyotes’ critical role in prairie ecosystems and condemning bounties and other mass coyote killing programs.
“We are concerned that the bounty Saskatchewan piloted last year could have wider ecological consequences so we wanted to speak out strongly,” said Trevor Herriot, Conservation Director, Nature Saskatchewan, a provincial affiliate of Nature Canada. “This resolution not only acknowledges the critical role coyotes play in maintaining species diversity and ecosystem health but it also makes a clear statement that the conservation of endangered species, and wildlife in general, is dependent on ecological
policies that recognize the central role of apex predators – which in today’s prairie ecology, is the Coyote. The members and board of Nature Saskatchewan are also concerned that the bounty could be reinstituted or suddenly applied to wolves in the northern half of the province.”
The resolution comes on the heels of a large-scale Saskatchewan government sanctioned bounty that resulted in the killing of at least 71,000 coyotes between November 2009 and March 2010.
Saskatchewan’s agriculture minister defended the bounty as an effective way to reduce coyote populations and agricultural conflicts despite the lack of critical scientific evidence to support his claims. “Considering that one coyote will eat at least 5 rodents per day, the removal of 71,000 coyotes means there are at a minimum 130 million more rodents on the landscape that farmers have to contend with that would have been controlled naturally by coyotes,” said Dr. Paul Paquet, Scientific Advisory Board member of Project Coyote and Senior Scientist of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.
“If we also consider the sheer number of insects coyotes eat, the sick animals they remove from the gene pool, and carrion they clean up, it’s not a stretch to say we’re clearly working against ourselves when we kill coyotes in mass numbers.”
Astounding scientists and conservationists throughout North America, Nova Scotia’s Natural Resource Minister John MacDonell then declared that the province would initiate its own coyote bounty- to commence October 15. Guised as a “pelt incentive plan” the bounty would provide $20 per coyote pelt. Acknowledging that coyote bounties “don’t work to control the population,” (CBC News 4.22.10) MacDonell told the CBC News (4.22.10) that the aim of the bounty is to “to change coyote behaviour and reduces a problem wildlife population.”
Four days later, New Brunswick declared that it would not enact a coyote bounty stating that, “New Brunswick prefers to let nature to take its course,” as reported by the CBC News (4.26.10).
“We have known for decades that random killing of coyotes can actually be counter productive resulting in increased coyote and rodent populations,” stated Paquet. “Let this progressive resolution passed by Nature Saskatchewan be a clarion call to Nova Scotia and other jurisdictions that bounties and other mass killings of coyotes are ethically indefensible, ecologically reckless, and counter to sound scientific wildlife conservation.”
Project Coyote is a national non-profit charitable organization that fosters educated coexistence between people and coyotes and advocates on behalf of America’s Song Dog and all native carnivores. For information visit: www.ProjectCoyote.org
Nature Saskatchewan promotes the appreciation and understanding of our natural environment through education, conservation and research. For information visit: http://www.naturesask.ca/
Raincoast Conservation Foundation is a Canadian science-based research and education non-profit organization with a focus on large carnivore conservation; visit https://www.raincoast.org/.
The Animal Welfare Institute is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 to reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans; visit www.awionline.org
Paul Paquet, Project Coyote & Raincoast Conservation Foundation,
Trevor Herriot, Nature Saskatchewan, 306-777-2395 (day)/
Camilla Fox, Project Coyote & Animal Welfare Institute,
415-690-0338 (cell)/ 415-945-3232 (office)