Living close to the wilderness

The eerie yipping of coyotes breaks the night silence. It is not just in the open country but in the village of Knowlton. This might worry some people, but it is a positive thing. “The presence of an apex predator is the sign of a healthy ecosystem,” says Louis Lazure, a biologist at the Granby Zoo, who is working on a PhD at Concordia University that deals with the relationship of humans and wild animals. He says coyotes seldom pose a threat to humans, but reminds people not to feed wild animals We live surrounded by fields, woods and wilderness. Venture a kilometre or two outside any of our villages and you are all of a sudden in a place where there is quiet and the wonders of nature. Even with the increasing population there are more animals around. Twenty years ago wild turkeys were nowhere to be seen; now roaming flocks of them patrol open fields. They seem to manage to avoid predators, escaping to low hanging branches when chased.

Bears are seen, even in the villages, and there are rumours of other animals. Mountain Lions are reported but they would be rare. Wolves? It is said there are none south of the St. Lawrence River. A large coyote might be mistaken for a wolf, but as you can see in the illustration below, there is no mistaking a wolf. They are giants.

People in other parts of the world would envy us if they only knew that we live so close to nature and yet have all the advantages of the modern world, things from arts and culture to (for most of us) high speed internet. Let the coyotes yip.