SCARBOROUGH — According to wildlife biologist Stephen DeStefano, “coyotes now occupy every state in the U.S., except Hawaii, and they are one of the most successful species in North America.”
But this wasn’t always the case.
DeStefano, author of “Coyote at the Kitchen Door: Living with Wildlife in Suburbia,” will discuss the coyote as an example of the positive aspect of interactions with nature on July 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Scarborough Public Library.
Half a century ago, the New Salem, Mass., resident said in a phone interview, New England didn’t even have coyotes and some areas such as western Massachusetts weren’t home to the species until the 1950s.
There are two main reasons for their modern success away from their original western prairies: extermination of wolves, coyotes’ main competitor, and the extreme adaptability of the animal.
“When we talk about urban wildlife, we tend to talk about the problems,” DeStefano said. “We think of ourselves as separate from nature when really, we are a part of it.”
DeStefano said he has positive interactions with nature every day when he goes to work, whether it’s seeing a coyote in the woods or listening to birds chirping.
DeStefano added short stories from the places he has worked at the beginning of each chapter in his book in order to contrast with the urban wildlife he discusses. He also weaves in the story of a female coyote tracing her path between landscapes throughout his book.
Focusing more on the bigger picture than specific suggestions on how to deal with coyote interactions on property, DeStefano said he wanted to get people rethinking their views on land and wildlife ethics.
He focuses on our society’s response to land, which he said is “typically viewed as a commodity and real estate, when in all reality all of the resources we use come from the land.”
DeStefano was invited by the Scarborough Land Conservation Trust and the library. For more information visit, the library’s website at library.scarborough.me.us.
Victoria Fischman is The Forecaster news intern. She can be reached at 781-3661.