Sunday, January 17, 2016

Killer Koyotes, They're Not a Rock Band

Those darn coyotes are at it again. The predator plague that's got the country in a tizzy has apparently made a meal of a rare animal being kept by the Smithsonian National Zoo, a dama gazelle, as the Associated Press advises us:

FRONT ROYAL — The Smithsonian National Zoo says it wants to hunt down the trio of coyotes that recently killed a critically endangered dama gazelle at its sprawling Conservation Biology Institute here. Plans are to soon target the coyote group that got into an enclosure and was seen near the gazelle carcass. Those predators, having found a good food source, are now liable to kill other such vulnerable animals at the 3,200-acre site.
........................ ADVERTISEMENT ......................
The institute’s deputy director, William Pitt, said it was a painful decision, but the zoo has a responsibility to protect endangered species from predators.
A rash of coyote sightings have recently been reported in Fairfax and Prince William counties.
“It is a choice you have to make,” Pitt said. “It hasn’t been an easy decision for me. ... If there were a thousand coyotes on the property and this (killing) didn’t happen, it would be fine.”
The killing of the gazelle was the first time the institute has lost an animal to a coyote.
Pitt said the hunt will try to target only those coyotes that killed the gazelle, by focusing on the specific territory where they live around the complex.

He said a hunter will probably stake out the area, lure the coyotes with a recording of a rabbit in distress, and shoot the predators when they come to investigate.

The dama gazelle is native to the Sahara area of northern Africa. It's possible that the coyotes regard the gazelles as an invasive species rather than lunch but who knows? Of course, attempting to draw in the guilty coyotes by the use of a predator call may well result in the murder of an innocent coyote, should there even be such a thing. Even if the trio of killer koyotes is eliminated, considering the exploding population of the canines, it's likely that others will come to take their place. Nature abhors a vacuum.

 Image result for dama gazelle


No comments: