A plan to cull coyotes in Princeton has been put on hold until more information is gathered.
“Coyotes are really pervasive in suburban and urban environments,” Council President Bernie Miller said. “We’ve reviewed a lot of literature and a lot of authors recommend that an education program is really the most effective way of controlling interaction between coyotes and humans. Culling is not productive. It leads to inbreeding of coyotes and dogs and the population quickly returns to pre-culling levels.”
Identifying dens and destroying them is also an effective way to control coyotes, Miller said, adding that an estimated 40 to 60 coyotes are in Princeton. Coyotes have been spotted in the Princeton Community Village area and at the Institute for Advanced Study, he said, adding that Mark Johnson, the Princeton animal control officer, spotted a coyote a few hundred feet from the town municipal building a few days ago.
Miller recommended that the town do the following: create a program to educate people about best practices to reduce interactions between residents, coyotes, and pets ; collect data regarding the seriousness of the problem in Princeton and present it in June; and that the animal control officer destroy any coyote dens he encounters.
“Any recommendation for a population control program is going to be postponed pending research on the effectiveness of programs and quantitative data,” Miller said.
“We will monitor the situation, talk to experts, and expand from there,” Johnson said.
Officials discussed tips for dealing with coyotes.
“If you are feeding pets outdoors, you are inviting coyotes,” Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller said.
“If you do encounter one, don’t run,” Councilwoman Jo Butler said. “That is the most important part. Back away. Throw stones, look large, flap your hands.”
“You’ve got to be the aggressor,” Johnson said.