Coyote Controversy: Ecosystem Service or Vermin?

Although there are over 100 self-defenseless ducks on Melissa Hoffman’s ecologically innovative farm, she spoke passionately about the service that coyotes provide for the non-human maintenance of her 1,300-acre crop land. Coyotes help maintain the population of prey animals such as raccoons, rabbits, and squirrels who can devastate farmer’s crop yields in their search for food. On Friday, February 17, 2017 the Vermont State Senate’s House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, witnessed multiple testimonies based around re-thinking human’s relationships with the historically feared natural predator. Judy Bellairs of the VT Sierra Club spoke of the intrinsic and spiritual value of a healthy coyote population; the biologist Walter Medwid explained the necessity of predator populations for balanced a balanced ecosystem; and Rob Mullen told of the inhumane hunting methods and disrespectful social media postings of those who hunt coyotes in Vermont. The problem that all of these concerned citizens of Vermont were speaking about is the lack of research of Vermont’s coyote population as well as the absence of regulation of coyote hunting.