The young male pup getting an examination. More photos below.
Two coyote pups have been brought to the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center. Monte Merrick, co-director of it and Bird Ally X says that a neighbor had called the center to say he had trapped a coyote pup. According to the neighbor, he had seen some vultures and they were eating a female coyote who had been shot.” The neighbor managed to capture one of the female’s pups, a male, but said that there was another. Yesterday, the second pup, a female, was also captured and brought to the center.
According to Merrick, the pups are around 6 or 7 weeks old. “Old enough to eat food,” Merrick says. It will take the Center about 10 weeks to raise the two until they are old enough to release.
“Coyotes are extremely easy to habituate,” Merrick explained so the Center is going to have to be very careful to keep the pups away from humans. “We will do everything we can to minimize their exposure to human presence,” he explained. “Fortunately, they are old enough, they have a fear of us already… .”
Merrick wrote on bird ally x’s Facebook page that the animals “…will require a lot of food and a lot of space - our recently completed small mammal housing will be their home for the next 10 weeks. In order to keep them wild, they will be kept very private - with very restricted handling. A special feeding slot will be used so that they do not see people as a source of food.” This, he says, is going to cost a lot of money.
The food is relatively easy to get says Merrick. “Because we rehabilitate raptors, we have frozen birds and rodents.” However, he says, “These guys are going to eat us out of house and home. Each of them are eating up to 6 prey items a day. That is going to be costly. We are going to have these guys until the middle of August and that’s a lot of rats.” Merrick explained that it costs the center about $2 per rat.
Eventually the animals will need to be given live prey in order to determine whether they are going to be able to survive in the wild. Merrick acknowledges that this is hard. “You have to make peace with that if you are going to do this work…you aren’t going to raise them on alfalfa sprouts. We stay open to hearing people’s concerns about it though,” he says.
Merrick would like to see the funds available for a webcam similar to that at the Humboldt Bay eagles’ nest. “I mentioned they are adorable, right?” he asked. “We have not raised coyotes since we had a facility in 2006…We just don’t get to go look at them normally,” he explained. And, of course, the pups will need to be kept from seeing humans as much as possible but the cam would allow them to be seen without human contact.
Currently, Merrick says, that unlike the Humboldt Bay eaglets there are no plans to name the pups. He believes that it is best to not give them personal names. “It helps us remember that they are wild and we don’t own them.”
Merrick wants to remind everyone that spring and early summer are vulnerable times for young animals. He says, “If you have an animal/human conflict, this is not the best time to kill or trap the parents This is a really crummy time to kill them… .: This time of year, he says, almost all grown animals have young. Imagine, he says, that you are an animal. Right now, “you are working hard to raise your kids and the last thing they need is to have you not come home.”
To contribute to the care of the young, go to www.birdallyx.net or www.humwild.org or hit the donate button on their Facebook page and make a contribution today. People can also send checks to Box 1020, Arcata 95518. Merrick says that the donation goes directly to the care of North Coast wildlife including the pups.