Coyotes in the City: Contentions at the Human-Wildlife Interface and Productive Approaches to Coexistence

Authors: ILANAH TAVES*, 1993
Topics: Animal Geographies
Keywords: urban coyotes, urban wildlife, animal geographies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Grand Ballroom E, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Urbanization and habitat fragmentation cause animal species to either adjust to human- dominated landscapes or suffer population loss. This paper examines the municipal challenges associated with coyotes, an animal successfully adapting to cities throughout North America. The presence of carnivores in highly developed areas challenges conceptual and spatial attempts to separate cities from nature. The beginning paragraphs critically examine the rise of cities at the expense of nature, and the subsequent alienation of wildlife from the urban form. Theoretical perspectives from the discipline of animal geographies are employed to deconstruct problematic relationships between cities and animals, and reimagine a metropolis that considers the presence of nonhuman others. Engaging Jennifer Wolch’s transspecies urban theory, policy interventions concerning wildlife are explored using Chicago’s response to well-established urban coyote populations. Well-informed wildlife management plans are posited as a specific, feasible policy effort promoting coexistence. Successful approaches to municipal coyote management require city officials to develop integrated and strategic plans, calling for multi-department participation and outlining specific steps to oversee local coyote populations in cases of perceived threats. These concepts are reviewed using Chicago’s Coyote Management and Coexistence Plan to guide discussion. The city incorporates insight from local researchers and coyote experts to develop educational outreach programs and outline practices in cases of problematic individual coyotes. This paper articulates a need for larger considerations of wildlife in urban spaces, viewing effective management plans as foundational in promoting coexistence between residents and potentially threatening wildlife.

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