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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Problematic Trend of Pseudo-Science Dictating Urban Coyote Management Policy


Interest groups are lobbying local authorities nationwide to manage the increasingly dangerous problem of nuisance urban-coyotes by adopting a so-called “hazing” regime, whereby the populace is educated to actively engage coyotes with hostile actions, such as yelling and throwing objects at them. While there is some scientific basis for including an organized hazing regime as one component of a comprehensive urban-coyote management plan, these interest groups have been successful in convincing many local authorities that a public hazing regime is, aside from removing attractants, the only acceptable approach for addressing aggressive or habituated coyotes and that any lethal measures are not only inhumane but ineffective, as a matter of science. However, there is no mainstream scientific literature that supports their view. To the contrary, the only scientific literature on the subject casts doubt on the efficacy of hazing, at least as a long-term solution. Nevertheless, many municipalities have accepted these objectively biased groups’ representations as scientifically valid with little question and have adopted coyote policies based on such representations, without the usual hyper concern for public safety and liability that municipalities are famous for. This paper puts the urban-coyote management plans pushed by interest groups, like the Humane Society of the United States and Project Coyote, under the microscope to evaluate their scientific pedigree to show how widespread their campaign of misinformation reaches.

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