Our mission statement: Education and advocacy for coyotes, coywolves, and wolves across Canada and the northeastern USA.
As a coyote and wolf advocate, what kind of advocacy work can I see our nonprofit doing?
Education, for one. We will always encourage civil and intelligent debate and discourage attacks on anyone who has a different opinion or lifestyle. I’m not interested in running an advocacy group that attacks hunters and trappers. School groups will be invited to tours, lectures, and special events at the educational animal facility with captive-bred and captive-raised zoo coyotes, red foxes, and crows (which are all smart, misunderstood animals who are often killed as “vermin”).
I am interested in the following goals, as set forth in Jonathan Way’s book Suburban Howls.
Our reach is all of Canada, and our main focus is on our home base here in Ontario. Here are the goals:
– Make poisoning wildlife illegal across Canada. (Poisoned animals tend to bleed to death, slowly and in pain, and the poison leaches back into the ecosystem.)
– Revise the months of the hunting season: set start and end dates on the wolf and coyote seasons to allow packs to recover, and especially to allow pups to be born and raised.
– Ban hounding.
– Discourage the use of snares.
– Institute policies to try all non-lethal options first and foremost in wolf and coyote management.
– Emphasize safe travel for wildlife, including setting traffic speed limits in certain areas, putting up more wildlife crossing signs, and encouraging the building of wildlife corridors for animals to migrate or disperse without becoming roadkill.
– Educate municipalities about coyotes, wolves, and coywolves, which will include promoting the highest quality media articles, calling out poorly written or nonfactual pieces, giving lectures or presentations, distributing pamphlets and other media, and encouraging activities like wildlife watching and nature retreats.
– Establish hunting-free zones. This idea is strongly Jonathan Way’s. If certain parks or wilderness areas disallow hunting, those areas could be promoted as wildlife watching areas, which would help the economy in the form of tourist dollars. Wildlife photography is lucrative for an economy. Wild spaces also have value in and of themselves for their ability to restore health and peace of mind. How often do stressed city-dwellers get to observe the complex interplay of wild species in large areas of natural habitat?
As mentioned, I hope to accomplish these goals without the attitude you typically see from advocacy groups toward their typical targets: hunters, trappers, and farmers. Our mode of peaceful coexistence also incorporates the human element.
Photograph: courtesy of Neil Robertson Photography (with permission).