As a lover of the outdoors and Maine landscapes, George Smith, a highly vocal and influential spokesman, presents readers with an extremely limited viewpoint of coyotes (April 13).

In comparison to deaths by car accidents, homicidal gun wielders and drug overdoses, to list just a few of life’s dangers, deaths by coyote do not qualify as a threat. The problem is not the coyote, but that humans are creating the viable milieu in which coyotes thrive.

Coyotes, like squirrels, turkeys and deer, are opportunists, adept at adapting to any type of living conditions, particularly the decadent lifestyles provided them via rural and suburban sprawl. These animals proliferate where food is abundant, and they are adroit at evading death and extinction, thriving on the prime epicurean conditions — gardens, bird feeders and dog houses — offered in people’s backyards.

Coyotes, like deer, are migrating to southern Maine because the eating is good and plentiful, whether it’s people’s apple trees, personal gardens or their pets.

We have only ourselves to blame; the more we encroach upon the grazing and feeding grounds of Maine’s wildlife population, the more they will take advantage of the good life and fertile conditions that we inadvertently provide for them.

Other states have experienced similar problems: wildcats in urban California, foxes in metropolitan areas of Colorado, grizzlies wandering through Montana towns.

The more we try to “manage” wildlife, and the more land we develop, the more these opportunistic animals will continue to proliferate. Coyotes are particularly skilled at producing offspring when they are threatened; consequently, the more of them we kill, the more they produce. The coyote is not to blame. We are the culprits, with our irresponsible use of landscape and our assumptions about our ability to control wildlife.

Susan E. Melcher


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