By Scott Manning
According to Catherine “Cat” Keller, the Animal Control office has not received many coyote reports over the summer, indicating that the coyote population remains at stable levels. Animal Control officers consistently record animal complaints from Corrales residents to determine what areas of the village to patrol. Keller explained that this summer they have received an increased number of snake reports, but coyote reports remain low.
Keller suggests that coyote reports should remain low because the Bosque Preserve currently has a relatively small rabbit population. Rabbits serve as a source of food for coyotes, so coyote numbers should reflect the amount of food available in the environment. Keller mentioned that coyotes may begin to repopulate the Salce Basin along Sabebrush Drive now that construction on the flood control project has ended. Animal Control continues to monitor this region of the village.
In the long term, coyote populations have remained relatively constant in Corrales. Animal Control officers have had to drive coyotes out of certain areas to prevent them from establishing living habits in a single location. Coyotes dislike loud noises, so Animal Control officers clap their hands and run after coyotes to drive them out of the region. Keller explains that many coyotes here now recognize animal control units and leave an area when Animal Control arrives.
These animal control practices aim to discourage repeated coyote activities in a single area of the village, yet Animal Control never intends to permanently remove coyotes from the bosque or village. Coyotes are predators in the local ecosystem, and the removal of coyotes from the environment would destabilize the ecological balance.
Coyotes are generally uncomfortable around people, and Keller affirms that there have been no reports of coyotes attacking Corrales residents. But coyotes have been known to threaten pets and small animals. To keep pets safe, Keller recommends that residents accompany their small dogs outside at all times. Cats should not be roaming outside, and residents should avoid leaving food exposed. As a final precaution, chicken coops should be secured with fencing that is stronger than chicken wire because chicken wire will not provide adequate protection. Animal Control has not encountered a coyote problem so far this summer. But Keller suggests that residents take the necessary precautions to keep their animals safe.