Library program aims to help avert coyote encounters

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 24, 2015

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In an effort to educate the public about coyotes and minimize human/coyote conflicts, the Troy Public Library will host a program about the highly adaptable animal.

Maggie Forrest, adult reference librarian and a gardener, organized the program. She lives in Lake Orion.

“We’ve seen some,” she said, adding that she believes coyotes have been seen in Troy.

“People believe coyotes are cold-hearted killers out to hurt pets. That’s not the case,” said naturalist educator Laurel Zoet, who will present the program. “It’s not because coyotes are inherently bad.”

Zoet served as a naturalist for the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation program for six years and said she received calls about coyotes often, so she developed a public awareness program about the canines.

Zoet said that human/coyote conflicts arise when humans provide the coyotes with food by leaving kibble outdoors for stray cats or by taking their trash out, filled with everything they’ve cleaned out of their refrigerator, the night before pickup.

“Coyotes have a natural wariness of people,” Zoet said. “Encourage that wariness.”

She said excellent coyote hazing techniques can be found on the American Humane Society website, www.humanesociety.org/animals/coyotes. Tips include installing motion sensor lights and simply yelling or clapping to scare the canines away.

Zoet said coyotes are extremely adaptable and intelligent, and they have established themselves in urban areas in Detroit, New York City and Chicago. Coyotes range from Alaska to the Panama Canal.

“Both the males and females are very smart, devoted parents, and even learn traffic light patterns,” Zoet said.

She said the Urban Coyote Research Program documented a case in which a female coyote successfully raised her young in a parking lot at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Zoet will present her program in three parts: the basic biology of the animal, facts versus fiction, and how to avoid human/coyote conflict.

The program will be held from 7-8 p.m. March 31 at the Troy Public Library, 510 W. Big Beaver Road. Forrest said people who want to attend should register by calling (248) 524-3542 or by visiting www.troypl.org and clicking on “calendar.”

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