Statement on Institutional Coyote Management Program
The Huntington frequently is asked about what it does to manage the coyote population on its property (207 acres). In fact, coyotes are part of the landscape of the greater Los Angeles area, including urban and suburban areas, canyons and parks. Because we host some 500,000 visitors each year at The Huntington and because we are aware of aggressive coyotes in the area, some of whom have attacked neighborhood pets, we have in place a coyote management program that includes non-lethal measures (such as removing brush, controlling pests that serve as food for them, and using leaf blowers in areas they might try to inhabit), as well as trapping twice a year to do our part to keep the population in the area under control. (The trapped coyotes are euthanized; California law does not allow relocation.)
Recently we were contacted by the Humane Society of the United States and Project Coyote; they have raised strong objections to the lethal portion of our management program. Our program is based on peer-reviewed scientific literature from UC Davis; our goal in employing these techniques is to re-instill in coyotes the fear of humans. We are not trying to eradicate coyotes from The Huntington; wildlife biologists at the state Department of Fish and Game have assured us that’s not possible. But they do agree that trapping can help re-instill the fear of humans, potentially reducing the likelihood of attacks. At the same time, they have told us that the incidence of coyote attacks on humans has markedly increased in Southern California and that as coyotes have migrated into urban and suburban areas, their numbers per square mile have increased dramatically, and their behavior has become increasingly bold and brazen. We nevertheless want to ensure that our program is based on best practices grounded in a solid science base, so we are engaging in a review of all of our coyote management activities including additional review of the scientific literature and additional consultation with wildlife biologists. We know that we must balance two very important considerations: the need to provide protection to Huntington visitors, staff and neighbors while being sensitive to the local wildlife population.
We also know good coyote management means working in concert with the local community to ensure a consistent approach. With that in mind, we hold town meetings periodically and bring in wildlife management experts to provide education and outreach for our staff, volunteers, and neighbors regarding best practices for dealing with coyotes in urban and suburban areas.