Coyotes have made their way onto some barrier islands off Southwest Florida where they are getting mixed reviews.
The animals are not native to Florida, but have been moving down the peninsula for decades due to changing terrain. Residents of Don Pedro Island in Charlotte County say coyotes have destroyed sea turtle and shore bird nests.
But, wildlife officials give the animals mixed reviews. Florida Fish and Wildlife Biologist Gretchen Hochnedle said predation of threatened and endangered species is bad – however, coyotes are filling a niche.
“Coyotes play a bigger role in controlling populations of middle size predators, raccoons and foxes that seek out these nests of ground nesting birds and sea turtles and things like that – populations of those animals that actually had a larger detriment,” she said.
Hochnedle says coyotes are filling the niche once occupied by red wolves which were eliminated in Florida. Coyotes are not protected and can be trapped and hunted on private property.
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 14:58
Coyotes: Filling a Niche or Creating a Nuisance?Written by Valerie Alker