County council should rethink coyote plan

August 22, 2013

There's only one old coyote here, named Fred, who lives quietly near Millsboro. He doesn't bother anybody and has lost all his teeth, but he has managed to give the Sussex County Council something they can finally agree on, distracting the public from truly important issues since it seems that the sky may soon be falling with coyotes.

Fred came here about eight years ago in the back of a station wagon with Wyoming plates, and hasn't been able to find his way home. He finally decided, like so many of us, that Sussex County would be a nice place to retire. Alas, poor Fred and the few coyote friends he has here.

We have it totally backward, people. We have "managed" wildlife for a long time into mass disruption of the natural cycles of tiny plants and animals, to the larger ones, to the still larger and more varied ones. At one time they all lived in mutual balance and benefit, and they thrived in numbers that sustained their surroundings and each other, the way it was before humans showed up and used their curiosity, brilliance and greed to disrupt a balance that was thousands of years old

The top predators were the linchpins of nature's original system, and it worked. Destroying those predators from the top down, with spears and nets and guns, has caused gross overpopulation of prey animals and near extermination of their food sources. Newer ideas for "management" came and went, but the deed was done. Now there's a small chance to begin reversing course, starting with coyotes and wolves.

If members of the Sussex County County would take time to read and think about just one book, they could realize the wrongness of taking on the few Freds which live here. The big picture would become bigger, an "aha moment" could occur, and more wrongheaded actions could be avoided. The title is "Where the Wild Things Were" and the author is William Stolzenburg.

Mary E. Harris

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