Immigrants from the Great Plains have sauntered into Delaware and they don’t plan to leave any time soon.
That’s why the city of Delaware will hold a public information meeting regarding the local influx of coyotes at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Delaware Community Center YMCA, 1121 S. Houk Road.
“The location is pretty fitting, considering many of the comments and calls we’ve gotten about coyotes have come from the West Side,” said Lee Yoakum, community affairs coordinator for the city. “That’s where development has pushed up against woods and farms, likely coyote habitat.”
Yoakum was quick to defuse any sensational aspects to this coyote story.
“I wouldn’t call it an issue,” he said. “The Delaware Police Department received three calls about coyotes in 2011. Still, I think most people who live in Delaware have seen a coyote at one time or another.”
Marne Titchenell is a wildlife program specialist at the Ohio State University Extension in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. She’ll be talking about coyotes on Feb. 22.
“Coyotes aren’t native to Ohio,” she said. “They are native to grasslands, prairies, and desert areas and were historically found in such places as the Great Plains. When settlers began traveling out West in covered wagons and such, they called coyotes ‘prairie wolves’ due to their appearance and habitat.”
But the coyote, a medium-sized member of the dog family, has proven extraordinarily adaptable over the centuries.
“They have expanded their range east, west, north and south, adapting to a wide variety of habitats, which is pretty impressive, as some wildlife species are confined to specific habitats,” Titchenell said. “Presently, coyotes are found in all of the United States, in almost every habitat, including urban areas.”
Titchenell said the most important topic she will discuss is “Human and coyote conflict and how to avoid it.”
“The last habitat to which coyotes have adapted is ours — our cities, suburbs and towns. They are living with us, and while studies have shown little conflict when humans and coyotes co-exist, there are still certain things you should do.”