September 19, 2018

A Call for a Possible Bounty on Coyotes Because of Disease Spread

Jon Lund is the owner and publisher of the Maine Sportsman magazine. In the March 2018 edition, he asks, “Are Coyotes to Blame for Increase in Ticks?” His simple explanation is that the presence of an increased population of coyotes in Maine is causing a reduction in the fox population – the trickle-down effect of an increase in ticks, particularly the tick that carries Lyme disease. The reality is that coyotes compete with and kill, directly and indirectly, the red fox that is sufficiently more adept at killing the small rodents that carry and perpetuate the Deer (Lyme) tick. In an effort to mitigate what appears to be a festering and growing incidence of Lyme disease in Maine, Lund is wondering if it is time, due to the necessity of a public health risk, to make a more serious effort at reducing the coyote population.

Maine got along just fine before the coyote took over the countryside and contrary to the many statements made otherwise, we don’t need them.

However, there is something else I’d like to touch base with readers about that Mr. Lund brings up in his article. This has to do with the use of chemicals and/or “natural” elements to ward off ticks and insect bites.

I’m sure that the pharmaceutical industry, and anyone else who stands to make a profit from their drugs to treat Lyme and other diseases, has thoroughly hyped the presence of ticks and instilled ample fear into the masses. After all, when the people live in fear they will do most anything.

Lund speaks specifically about permethrin. Permethrin is a common ingredient found in compounds marketed as insect repellents or killers. Basically, it attacks the central nervous system of insects.

Permethrin is a synthetic, or man-made, product derived from pyrethrin.

Most fact sheets available to the consumer paint the picture of permethrin/pyrethrin as mostly harmless even though long-term effects have not been studied. Some believe that using products that contain permethrin presents a higher risk of health issues than the odds of getting bit by a tick that will infect you with Lyme or other diseases. This is something you will have to decide for yourself. But to make that decision honestly, you should make the effort to understand the presented “remedies” and “threats.” It’s your health. Know what you are doing.

Lund takes the time to explain how ticks are spread around (I don’t find any factual claims that global warming is the culprit) and refers to a study where “…a growing body of evidence suggests that Lyme disease risk may now be more dynamically linked to fluctuations in the abundance of small-mammal hosts that are thought to infect the majority of ticks.”

The same study tells us that the incidence and presence of Lyme disease are not related to the abundance of deer but to the absence of key small predators. “We then show that increases in Lyme disease in the northeastern and midwestern United States over the past three decades are frequently uncorrelated with deer abundance and instead coincide with a range-wide decline of a key small-mammal predator, the red fox, likely due to expansion of coyote populations. Further, across four states we find poor spatial correlation between deer abundance and Lyme disease incidence, but coyote abundance and fox rarity effectively predict the spatial distribution of Lyme disease in New York. These results suggest that changes in predator communities may have cascading impacts that facilitate the emergence of zoonotic diseases, the vast majority of which rely on hosts that occupy low trophic levels.”

This claim is in direct contradiction to the theory that predators kill only the sick of the prey species and justifies the “need” for predators to keep our ecosystems healthy. Not only is there no evidence that the presence of large predators reduces the presence of disease in ecosystems, this study seems to prove the exact opposite.

We forget or never learned history. Large predators like wolves and coyotes were not tolerated on the landscape by early settlers. And there were reasons for that, some of which include not only the destruction of property caused by these critters but it was known that they carried and spread diseases, many of which are harmful and even deadly to humans.

And yet, today, there is an all-out effort to protect these same predators. It appears that for some anyway, the demand for an abundance of coyotes at the expense of public health is just fine and dandy. I don’t see it that way at all and I’m not alone.

As the trend continues in the direction that it is headed, it should be fairly easy to predict there will be increased fall-out about protecting any animal that spreads dangerous diseases among the people. Few tolerate the presence of rats knowing and remembering the unbelievable death and destruction caused by the bubonic plague. Is there a difference in protecting the health and safety of the public because one culprit is a nasty rat and the other is a nasty wild dog?

Mr. Lund is correct in asking the question about the role of coyotes in Maine, or anywhere else, where, according to provided data, the coyote is directly affecting the growth, perpetuation and spread of Lyme disease.

If Maine cannot effectively control the population of coyotes for public health and safety with the current management strategies, then it may be time to look at something more effective.

It is dishonest by the many who blame hunting and trapping for the decimation and/or extirpation of wolves and coyotes but go out of their way to deny that hunting and trapping of the same animals today have any effect on reducing their population numbers.

Many decades ago when it was decided by governments that wolves and coyotes were destroying property and spreading diseases, one of the elements employed to rid the landscape of the nasty canines and the diseases they spread was a bounty system. Any bounty must be attractive enough to draw enough to the plan. What is the limit in the cost of healthcare?

Such a suggestion will be vehemently opposed by many, especially those who hate hunting and trapping. They are wrong that think people like Jon Lund and myself might promote a bounty system for coyotes only for improving deer hunting. Little do these people know and understand the real conservation of wildlife.

In the normal world which is being left in the dust, there would be no question as to what is the right thing to do. Normalcy tells us public health and safety take precedence over animals and the spread of disease. One has to wonder what the extent of the bubonic plague would have been like if people had known and took real action to get rid of the rats that spread the disease.

But, we live in a Post-Normal world now where many things are upside-down. Are we to wait until more and more people get sick and die before we begin to act? Are we serious about finding a cure to a problem or is there just too much money to be made along with the genocide many promote?

It appears so.

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Five recent animal plague cases reported in south Santa Fe 

Five plague cases have been found in animals in south Santa Fe since November, according to the state Department of Health. Three cats, one dog and one mouse were confirmed with the bacterial disease, all…

Source: Five recent animal plague cases reported in south Santa Fe | Albuquerque Journal News

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Dog Infects Humans With Plague for First Time in US

A dog became sickened with the plague last year.

Four days later, the dog’s owner entered the hospital with a fever and a bloody cough that became worse over the next few hours, but an initial blood culture was misidentified, according to the CDC report.

As the patient’s symptoms grew worse, the test was redone and he was found to have been infected with pnumonic plague, according to the CDC report. The remains of the dog were also tested and were found to be positive for the plague bacteria.

Source: Dog Infects Humans With Plague for First Time in US – ABC News

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Fallout From Holding States Liable for Animal Attacks and Damages

Two days ago I wrote about how the state of Utah can be held liable for the death of an 11-year-old boy by a black bear, according to a ruling in the Utah Supreme Court. In that ruling the Supreme Court stated that bears are not part of the “natural condition” one expects to find in the forests and fields. In addition, the same ruling declared that the State of Utah established a “special relationship” with the family of the 11-year-old boy and campers in general because the state was carrying out several things in order to protect the campers from bears. However, the State of Utah can now be sued by the family and may be charged with negligence in carrying out their duties to keep campers safe.

I spoke of the precedent such a ruling may carry in that it raises the question as to how far the courts will go in holding states liable for attacks on humans by wild animals and the damages they can create. What I did not talk about in this article was the negative fallout that may result from this ruling.

There are at least two ways of looking at how states may choose to react to this ruling in Utah. The more obvious side would be to err on the side of caution, perhaps even to the extreme, and quickly move to shut down any and all campsites, for example, when any reports surface of the presence of bears or any other large predator. We may be seeing that now as one report out of Colorado today reveals that officials at the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park, have banned all campers from sleeping in tents because of a reported bear in the area. Officials are attempting to trap the bear and if not successful, the campground will be closed.

Another example, one that doesn’t involve large predators, comes to us from California, where three campgrounds have been closed because squirrels have been found to be carrying bubonic plague.

A less obvious repercussion of the Utah court ruling could begin to appear should states attempt to ensure they are not establishing a “special relationship” with tax payers. If you may recall, the Utah Supreme Court granted the family of Sam Ives, the boy attacked and killed by the bear, standing to sue the State of Utah holding them also responsible for the boy’s death. That ruling was based on two things: one, that a black bear was not a “natural condition”, or an object that gave the state immunity from liability, and two, that the state had established a “special relationship” with the family.

This “special relationship”, at least how I understood the majority opinion, resulted in the state taking on the responsibility to ensure the safety of the campers and that officials had taken several steps to warn other campers and had spent several hours attempting to locate the bear that attacked the boy. Does this mean the state will not be liable if they do not establish a “special relationship?” How would that change the landscape when it comes to campers, hikers, etc.?

And what is not talked about in relation to this Utah incident is what becomes of the liability issue when the states participate in the introduction, reintroduction of moving of dangerous wild animals?

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