The 21st Show

Co-existing With Coyotes: Animal Care Director Shares Tips


Bob Haarmans/

Frequent coyote sightings in Rockford have sparked a larger conversation about how to co-exist with these canines. 

Speaking on the 21st Show, Sandy Woltman, animal care director at Oaken Acres Wildlife Center in Sycamore, said these sightings can be explained by human migration into areas coyotes have traditionally inhabited. 

Nearly 100,000 coyotes were removed by professionals in 2018, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. But Woltman said coyote removal is counterproductive. 

"Research has actually shown by removing coyotes, especially within the females within the group, it actually increases the population," Woltman said. She explained that following the removal of coyotes from a pack, the next female to breed will have more puppies.

Woltman said coyotes are a critical part of the ecosystem, acting as rodent control by going after mice and squirrels. Woltman said it is up to humans to make lifestyle changes to ensure peaceful co-existence. She said this includes not leaving food or water out for pets, and waiting until the morning to take out the trash. 

"Coyotes are here to stay. They're not going anywhere," she said. "They will self-limit their population once they get to certain numbers — there's not enough food out there." 

Guests: Sandy Woltman, Animal Care Director, Oaken Acres Wildlife Center

Prepared for web by WILL intern Sidney Madden

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