Feb 28 2010

The Misunderstood Coyote

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“…you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”  Revelation 4:11

One of the creatures I most enjoyed photographing earlier this month in Yellowstone was coyotes.  Maybe this is because I’m a “dog lover.”  Coyotes truly are beautiful creatures!  At the same time, they are one of the most hated animals in America.  Over the years they have been ruthlessly hunted, poisoned and maligned.  

It is true that from time to time coyotes kill some farmer’s sheep or somebody’s pet, but they still play a vital role in our ecological system.  If nothing else, they are an essential asset when it comes to rodent control.  Native Americans, however, have insisted for over 10,000 years that coyotes have much to teach us.  Perhaps they do.

One of the foremost coyote researchers is Bob Crabtree.  He notes, “The similarities between the social and breeding systems of the coyote and humans are striking.  Coyotes like humans, attempt to mate for life, are territorial, and build social units consisting of family members with parents, brothers and sisters helping to raise the young.”  Coyotes are very intelligent animals and have certainly proven themselves to be survivors.  Despite many attempts to eliminate them (or perhaps because of such attempts) their range has expanded dramatically in the past century.

In the book Track of the Coyote, Tom Skeele is quoted as saying “I think the future of predator control is dependent largely upon our ability to get away from looking at wildlife as being either good or bad but simply to respect its higher purpose, and I don’t mean its purpose for humans.”  I concur.

What gives us the right to determine whether an animal is good or bad?  Is its value solely dependent on whether we as humans benefit from its presence?  The Bible is clear in its teaching that God made all creatures and considers them good.  If God declares all animals “good,” who are we to say otherwise? 

I, for one, am thankful to live in a world that contains coyotes.  I am, in fact, grateful for all of God’s creatures.  Each and every one of them, coyotes included, deserve our respect.  And since each and every one bears the impress of its Creator, they also deserve our careful attention.coyote 191