Animal Rights Group Pushes For More Coyotes
Valley Forge National Historical Park has a deer problem with an estimated 1277 deer in the 3500 acre park. The high deer count has lead the park (like other National Parks) to bring in sharp shooters to reduce the numbers, currently the plan is to bring the head count down to around 185. That was the plan at least until the Pennsylvania chapter of Friends of Animals filed a lawsuit to stop the deer shoots.
According to the Washington Post, the lawsuit contends that park officials did not fully consider the role of natural predators - specifically coyotes - in maintaining a stable deer population. The Friends of Animals even came up with a campaign called the Coyote Coexistence Initiative to help promote the idea of coyote introduction to the park.
Valley Forge National Park is located northwest of Philadelphia as can be seen on this google map. Due to the high population density, the article notes there are more than a few skeptics of the Friends of Animals inititiave.
"It's a laughable idea," said Bruce Davis, who lives at the edge of the park in Tredyffrin Township. "We have pets and small children in that neighborhood. And plenty of adults who would be frightened by coyotes. . . . Even if they're only interested in the deer, there's 10 deer in my yard every night."
Mark O'Neill of nearby Bryn Mawr, who regularly visits the park and deplores the damage done by deer, wondered if coyotes would even bother with deer, given the smorgasbord of nearby household pets. "Fifi the dog and Fluffy the cat are much easier to eat," he said.