Photo by: Janet Kessler
As a carnivore biologist in Maine, I enjoy visiting our farms and supporting our farmers in their efforts to coexist peacefully with our carnivores.
I have many stories about farmers and farmers tell me many stories. But this one is especially poignant, as it manifests the many intricacies of relationships in the ecosystem of a farm.
So during my visit to a farm in western Maine this farmer introduced me to her farm animals…chickens, ducks, horses and new piglets. She told me of a COYOTE whose territory included her farm, and a FOX who lived in the forest on the other side of her farm. She never had any issues with the Coyote, as he actually assisted her by doing rodent patrol on her farm.
The FOX was kept away from her chickens by the presence of the Coyote. So the Coyote was unknowingly protecting her chickens…just by his presence.
Then an individual from away moved in next to her farm and began killing the entire Coyote family present there. And what ensued was tragic for the farmer…. The FOX, now recognizing that Coyote was no longer present, felt safe coming to her farm and killing her chickens.
What is so significant about this whole scenario…..is that the farmer understood what happened in the relationship between Coyote and Fox and the human neighbor. Human interference by killing important carnivores can have a myriad of negative consequences.
Now that her Coyote neighbors were gone, her only alternative to protect her animals from the fox, was to purchase a Guardian Dog….which she has done. Before that……Coyote was what you might call her Guardian Dog…
Carnivore Conservation Biologist