SF Rec and Park Announce Special Biodiversity Staff Training
Partners with Project Coyote to Offer Special Staff Training on Park Management with Coyotes
SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco Recreation and Park Department in partnership with Project Coyote and Habitat Potential announced today a special biodiversity training to help SF Rec and Park crew on methods of managing a park system with the existence of coyotes and other wildlife. At this two-day training starting March 19th, staff will learn the importance of biodiversity in the City’s parks, as well as coyote biology, their behavior, and the beneficial role coyotes play in an urban ecosystem. In addition, staff will learn the common causes of negative human-coyote encounters, and strategies for reducing conflicts between coyotes and people, as well as to develop efficacy and different control techniques and programs that foster peaceful coexistence with coyotes.
“SF Rec and Park’s Natural Areas Program leads the Department’s efforts to preserve, restore and enhance the City’s natural areas and wild habitat,” said Lisa Wayne, SF Rec and Park Natural Areas Program Manager. “With our success of wild habitat restoration comes with the growth of wild life in our urban environment, therefore, it is important for us to partner with Project Coyote to ensure we can continue our peaceful coexistence with wild animals such as coyotes.”
Coyotes are usually wary of people and will avoid human contact whenever possible. Bold behavior is unusual and is most often a result of habituation due to intentional or unintentional feeding, the presence of a dog, or the coyote defending a den and young. If coyotes are left to self-regulate, generally one litter of pups per year are born with 30-50% of pups surviving
“Coyotes are native to the Bay area and are a keystone species providing many ecological benefits from rodent control to helping song and ground-nesting bird populations by limiting mid-sized predators like foxes and skunks,” said Camilla Fox, Founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote. “We are thrilled to partner with SF Rec and Park to foster peaceful coexistence and appreciation for a species that the original Native American inhabitants of the Bay area- the Coastal Miwok revered and respected for their intelligence, adaptability and resilience. It is befitting of a city named after Saint Francis of Assisi ~ the patron Saint of Animals, that San Francisco promotes coexistence and acceptance of all beings ~ two and four-legged alike.”
“In a city that is as culturally and historically diverse as San Francisco, it is only fitting that we also celebrate the diversity of all things natural,” said Josiah Clark, Founder of Habitat Potential. “We also want to identify and recognize biodiversity in an urban environment.”
Founded by Consulting Ecologist and Naturalist Josiah Clark in 2002, Habitat Potential offers environmental consulting services and naturalist expertise. Habitat Potential is a philosophy that starts with an intimate knowledge of local ecosystems and their organisms. The potential is set in motion by actions in landscape stewardship. The agency is grounded in on-site field observations, an intimate knowledge of local flora and fauna as well as studies of historic references.
Project Coyote recommends one should never feed or try to “tame” a coyote; appreciate coyotes from a distance. The organization also encourages the public to walk dogs on leashes during pupping season and avoid den sites where coyotes are raising young. In addition, if approached by a coyote that exhibits bold behavior, Project Coyote recommends hazing by being “big” and “loud” and using visual and noise deterrents such as pop-up umbrellas and whistles.
Coyotes, known as North America’s native Song Dog and as God’s Dog by the Navajo, are the most common and persecuted native carnivore in the U.S.. Revered by many Native American tribes as tricksters and creators for their cunning adaptable ways, coyotes have expanded their range across the continent, filling niches left where gray wolves once lived.
Project Coyote is a North America coalition of wildlife educators, scientists, predator friendly ranchers, and community leaders promoting coexistence between people and wildlife, and compassionate conservation through education, science, and advocacy. The national non-profit Marin-based organization champions progressive management policies that reduce human-coyote conflict, supports and contributes to innovative scientific research, and helps foster respect for and understanding of North America’s native “Song Dog”.
Coyotes are a healthy component of our rural and urban communities. By helping to shift attitudes toward coyotes and other native carnivores, Project Coyote helps replace fear and ignorance with empowerment and appreciation. The organization offers a variety of educational outreach programs. Visit ProjectCoyote.org for more information.