Health & Safety

December 6, 2013

The ever present coyote on Fort Irwin and how to avoid unnecessary conflicts

coyote_landfill
A silhouetted coyote howling at the moon is an iconic symbol of the wild American West. Coyotes play an important ecological role by controlling rabbit and small mammal populations. They are opportunistic predators that also eat fruits, insects, and food discarded by humans.

Over-abundant coyote populations in proximity to human settlements can lead to several public health concerns. Coyotes can be carriers of canine distemper, parvovirus, rabies, and mange. These diseases can be transmitted from coyotes to pets (particularly canines). Coyotes can also transmit rabies and mange to humans. While rabies is not currently a problem at Fort Irwin, coyotes infected with mange can be seen in cantonment. Mange is caused by microscopic, parasitic mites in the skin or hair follicles, resulting in severe itching. Intense scratching or chewing results in the loss of large patches of fur and secondary skin infections may result in complete loss of fur. Calls about sick coyotes often increase during the winter as coyotes weakened by mange succumb to increased stress associated with colder temperatures.

A frequently asked question is: “Can we help the sick coyotes by treating them for mange infection?” The answer is yes – mange is very treatable. However, treatment presents two challenges: 1) Every infected animal in the population (as well as bedding areas) must be treated simultaneously 2) If one source of mange infection is missed, the cycle continues and cured animals are re-infected. Additionally, multiple treatments are required. This makes successful treatment impractical.

The natural instinct of most wild animals, both prey animals and predators such as coyotes, is to avoid contact with humans. Coyotes are naturally curious and often observe human activity from a safe distance. When behaving “normally” they will usually run away if confronted by humans. Most coyotes maintain this normal behavior even when living in urban areas. However, coyotes can become aggressive when their natural behavior is impacted by humans. Most attacks on humans or pets by coyotes follow intentional feeding of a coyote by a person. People who feed coyotes may think they are being kind, especially when they see a skinny coyote suffering from mange. Remember, it is not only unwise to feed a coyote, it is against the law. State and county laws, as well as Army regulations, prohibit intentional feeding of wild predators.

So, how can we minimize negative interactions between humans and coyotes? A community effort is required. First, neighborhoods and work places should eliminate supplemental food sources by: not leaving pet food or water outdoors; not throwing bird seed on the ground where it can attract small mammals; removing fruit and berries that fall from trees or shrubs, and; keeping garbage and compost in coyote-proof containers. Other strategies include: limiting shelter sites by trimming shrubs, removing woodpiles, and covering access points under buildings, and; re-instilling a natural fear of humans when in proximity by clapping your hands, stomping your feet, and yelling.

If you have questions about policies on coyotes, predator control (hunting), or other wildlife issues call the Environmental Division for Directorate of Public Works at 380-2681. To request emergency assistance with wildlife issues after business hours call the military police at 380-1258 for issues in cantonment or Range Operations, 380-3878, for issues in training areas.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
WACH_TOP_PHOTO

Reward exceptional patient care by filling out five-minute survey

Have you received an Army Provider Level Satisfaction Survey in the mail about your visit and care at Weed Army Community Hospital facilities here? Filling out the APLSS is your opportunity to provide WACH leadership with anony...
 
 
Officer_Camara

Texting, speeding, high beams – a reminder for all drivers

California Highway Patrol Officer Ryan Camara California Highway Patrol public information officer Ryan Camara was interviewed by the installation’s Public Affairs Office. His comments are supplemented with related highway sa...
 
 
Leslie Ozawa

Culture of safety

Leslie Ozawa United States Army Forces Command Deputy Commanding General Lt. Gen. Patrick Donahue addresses Soldiers of the 2916th Aviation Battalion during a safety award presentation ceremony here, March 3. United States Army...
 

 

Know your part, do your part, be an active bystander

April is recognized by the Department of Defense as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. The campaign offers a unique opportunity to build on the existing momentum within our community to eliminate this crime and ensure all serving in the Army and affiliated with the Army are treated with dignity and respect. The DoD theme...
 
 
DenimDay

Why Denim Day?

On April 8 at 9 a.m., residents of Fort Irwin will walk through the community in support of the Third Annual Fort Irwin Denim Day. Many have asked about the meaning behind Denim Day. The history of Denim Day begins with a story...
 
 
Photo by Gustavo Bahena, Public Affairs Office

Focused on eliminating sexual assault

The Department of the Army selected Fort Irwin’s deputy manager of the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program here as the recipient of a prestigious honor. Captain Nicole Myers was named the 2015 DA Sexual Assault Respons...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>