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robertogreco : coyotes   11

Dioramas : Open Space
"I walk up Twin Peaks to put myself between the ocean and the bay. The elevation bisects San Francisco, and the marine layer coming off the Pacific dissolves into tendrils. I’m scared of heights but feel tethered to the ground from this vantage.

At Glen Canyon I hear coyote pups barking. They are in the brush along Islais Creek, which runs in times of plentiful rain and sustains a lush ecosystem. The coyotes are here; I am here; a man, his baby, and his domestic dog are here; scrub jays, blackberry brambles, joggers, and a pair of red tails circling each other. Along a continuum with the most cooperative impulses of nature at one extreme and our most disruptive social constructs at the other, we humans move backwards and forwards.

I go out of town to look at drier land. Along this road I see small clumps of furry scat at regular intervals yet am still surprised when I encounter a bobcat. I’m sure I leave a trail too, and wonder who investigates it.

The appearance of the sky and the relative humidity and scent of the air are waypoints of memory. The fog, with its subtle variety of color, density, and paths, is a reasonable marker of time and place, but requires attention. At a distance it has a source and a form; up close its boundaries are obscured by constant change; inside it dissipates, particulate. This is a non-binary sort of weather."
elisabethnicula  sanfrancisco  twinpeaks  glencanyon  california  2017  coyotes  nature  wildlife  multispecies 
october 2017 by robertogreco
California Today: A Strike Looms in Hollywood [bookmark not about this] - The New York Times
"To escape the concrete and clamor of San Francisco, you might drive 45 minutes to the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge and slip into a redwood forest.

Or you could go the center of the city.

There rises Mount Sutro, an 80-acre hill forested by blue gum eucalyptus trees. Nourished by the enveloping San Francisco fog, many are more than 100 feet tall.

Among the reserve’s inhabitants are coyotes, red foxes, hoary bats and ringneck snakes. At least 80 species of bird have been spotted, including great horned owls. [ ]

Sarah Gustafson, a reader in San Francisco, said she walks regularly with her dog along Mount Sutro’s meandering five miles of trails. [ ] She shared a picture she took in December.

Entering the forest is almost immediately transporting, she said. After a few minutes of walking, the clatter of the city fades to silence.

“It’s really a fascinating place, especially on a foggy day,” said Ms. Gustafson, 27. “It’s got this sort of ethereal vibe.”

Mount Sutro has not been immune to the tree death sweeping California’s drought-stricken forests. A survey last year found that roughly a quarter of its trees were dead. A revitalization plan calls in part for clearing out the dead trees and introducing more native species (the eucalyptus are from Australia). [ ]

If you want to pitch in, they’re looking for volunteers.

Sutro Stewards [ ], a nonprofit conservation group, invites people to help with trail and habitat restoration on the first and third Saturdays of each month. Get the details here. [] "
sanfrancisco  nature  mountsutro  glvo  2017  animals  parks  birds  coyotes 
april 2017 by robertogreco
The Coyote Whisperer
"As more and more coyotes move into San Francisco’s urban core, one woman is bent on teaching the city how to peacefully co-exist with the animals."
coyotes  sanfrancisco  multispecies  2016  janetkessler  classideas  sfsh  animals  nature  wildlife 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Why aren’t coyotes, dingoes and wolves treated like our dogs? | Aeon Essays
"Coyotes, dingoes and wolves are all dogs, as intelligent and loyal as our familiars. Our treatment of them is unconscionable"

"Some dogs exist inside the circle of human domesticity: beloved companions and friends, respected and often pampered. They sleep in our homes, sometimes in our beds. We buy them plush toys. Other dogs live outside, free and independent. They possess the essential cognitive and emotional faculties as our dogs; domestication has introduced refinements, but the raw material was already there. They have personalities, memories, love their pups, and are devoted to their packs. Every so often, they play with toys we don’t bring inside."

"Coyote-killing is different from hunting deer, elk or so-called game birds, traditions that are steeped in an ethos of stewardship, provision and even fairness. It’s killing for fun. YouTube abounds with videos that revel in the death of a coyote; in many parts of the western US, so-called coyote derbies are common, documented in photographs of stacked bodies – the kinds of photos we associate with the rapaciousness of the 19th-century frontier."
coyotes  dingoes  wolves  animals  dogs  multispecies  wildlife  nature  2016  brandonkeim  domesticity 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Return of the Wild | Boom: A Journal of California
"Of course, that’s not the only history in California. Two analyses of native languages and literature have found traces of the wolf across nearly the whole state. In 2001, Alexandra Geddes-Osborne and Malcolm Margolin found separate words for “wolf” and “coyote” in many indigenous languages, and a role for wolves in story and ceremonies, in tribes as disparate as the Karuk in the far north, to the Pomo in the center of the state, and the Luiseno in the south.5 More recently, a report by scholars from the Anthropological Studies Center at Sonoma State University found fifteen indigenous languages across the state with different words for wolf, coyote, and dog, and five tribes with traditions in which the wolf features.6

One can go even further back in time, beyond history to prehistory. At the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, little kids stare in horrified fascination at an animatronic saber tooth cat taking down a slightly mangy-looking stuffed ground sloth in the public area. Meanwhile, drawers and drawers of specimens from Pleistocene California—from 10,000 to 50,000 years old—compose a deeper archive. Dire wolves—giant relatives of modern gray wolves, though not their ancestors—are the most common fossils found at the site. Researchers have unearthed the bones of some four thousand individual dire wolves. Presumably, mastodons and ground sloths stuck in the tar were so tempting that they lured the dire wolves to their doom.

A curator at the tar pits looks slightly bemused that I’m less interested in the dire wolves (currently chic thanks to their appearance in Game of Thrones) than regular old Canis lupus. “Does the collection include gray wolves?” I ask.

It does, indeed. We walk down a long, narrow corridor between metal cabinets, open a drawer, and here are riches of wolf bones, looking, as tar pit specimens do, mahogany colored and polished. There are teeth, jaws, and skulls. Nineteen drawers in all. When the first people came to what is now California, there were almost certainly wolves here.

Of course, there are still wolves in California—in Los Angeles, in fact. But these aren’t free-roaming wildlife. They are pets—or prisoners, depending on your point of view. Jennifer McCarthy, a dog trainer, spent four years in Colorado studying and working with captive wolves on a large piece of land. She now applies what she learned there to the dogs of the greater Los Angeles area, including the fully domesticated, nonwolf pooches of celebrities such as Christina Aguilera, the Osborne family, and Renee Zellweger. Some of McCarthy’s less famous clients own wolves or wolf-dog hybrids. For many people, there is an undeniable attraction to being that close with a piece of the wild. But wolves and wolf dogs make notoriously poor pets. They can bite. They don’t follow direction well. Their predatory instincts are strong, and, most of all, they are incredible escape artists. They don’t bond with people the way dogs do. Wolves may sound like a cool companion animal, but they spend their lives trying to be wolves, with sometimes-disastrous consequences.

McCarthy meets me in Redondo Beach at a coffee shop, wearing a black hoodie that says “Wolf Woman” on it. “There are people who live in the city of Los Angeles with 100 percent full-blown wolves,” she says. In one case, she was called to an apartment in Beverly Hills where a wolf had chewed through the floor and escaped into the apartment below.

McCarthy disapproves of breeding and selling wolves and part-wolves. “I really believe these animals were meant to be wild,” she says. “Wolves don’t want a lot to do with us.” But she will try to keep pet wolves from being euthanized, either by working on their behavior or placing them in one of the always-crowded specialty wolf rescues. She also volunteers her time to transport wolves and wolf dogs to shelters when necessary.

McCarthy’s experience with wolves suggests to her that even if they recolonize the state in large numbers, they will stay as far away from people as possible. “I couldn’t picture wolves walking down Santa Monica Boulevard at night, going through garbage cans,” she says.

That’s a job for another California canine: the coyote. Smaller, faster-breeding, and potentially more adaptable, the coyote inherited the lands the wolf left behind when humans exterminated it across most of the country. Coyotes, unlike wolves, are nearly impossible to eradicate. You can shoot, trap, and poison them all day long, and they’ll just keep coming.

In a lot of the native California and Oregon stories in which Wolf appears, he seems to be kind of a straight man to the trickster Coyote, who is sometimes his brother. Geddes-Osborne and Margolin retell a story from the Chemehuevi,7 in which Wolf is a brave warrior who saves the day and his little brother when the Bear people attack. Wolf fights in a magnificent multicolored robe, which becomes the rainbow. He is “wiser, more stately and in charge” than his little brother Coyote. This reminds me of stories from the Northern Paiute, recorded in 1938 by Berkeley anthropologist Isabel Kelly.8 In these stories, Wolf and Coyote are brothers, and Coyote is constantly taking risks out of curiosity, despite the warnings of his sage, conservative older brother, Wolf. Here’s a fragment of a tale told by Bige Archie of the Gidii’tikadu or Groundhog Eater band, in Modoc County, California.

They saw someone camped. Coyote wanted to see whose camp it was. Wolf told him, “Those are pretty bad people; don’t go there.” Coyote thought they might have some ya’pa [camas] roots. “I’ll go anyway,” he said. He went over to the camp. There were some Bear women in there. There was lots of ya’pa drying outside. Coyote found a basket. He scooped up some ya’pa and ran. They came after him; they came close behind him. He threw back the basket and hit those women right on the legs. He didn’t eat much of the ya’pa; he didn’t have time.

There seem to be some essential truths here about the natures of these two canines. It may be debatable whether wolves have more dignity. But they are certainly much more risk-averse. They tend to approach novel situations with the utmost caution; they shun humans; they take a long time to warm up to strange wolves. Coyotes are reckless and innovative, and as a result, humans have never managed to kill them off, in California or anywhere else. Stories about coyotes outnumber stories about wolves in most Oregon and California Indian literatures by a considerable margin. Does that mean there were fewer wolves or just that Coyote is a more compelling character for human storytellers?

Coyotes have adapted to a modern, crowded California. They cross Sunset Boulevard in San Francisco in the afternoon,10 nibble on lychee and avocados from suburban Southern California gardens,11 and forage in Santa Monica’s exuberantly varied and rich trashcans.

I have a hard time imagining wolves in those dangerous, liminal niches. Perhaps when wolves come back to a California vastly more overrun with humans than the one they last knew, they will stay hidden in the kind of remote forests favored by OR7 and his pups—places where you can drive up and down ridges all day and hear nothing but the drone of VHF receiver static, the croaks of ravens, and the scold of nuthatches; places where you know wolves are there, but you never see them. Or perhaps wolves will surprise me and everyone else and push in close to human California, appearing on ranches, in coastal suburbs, and even in major cities.

No matter where wolves live and how many there are, humans will be watching. The leaders of California’s first wolf packs likely will be caught and fitted with transmitting collars, just as in the other western states. The first colonists may well have Twitter accounts, like OR7. One thing is sure. In the first year of their official residence in the state, more will be known about them and written about them than all of the wolf generations before 1924."
californina  wolves  emmamarris  naturalhistory  wildlife  coyotes  trickster  urban  urbanism  nature  animals  history  losangeles 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Trash Animals — University of Minnesota Press
"From pigeons to prairie dogs, reflections on reviled animals and their place in contemporary life

In Trash Animals, a diverse group of environmental writers explore the natural history of wildlife species deemed filthy, invasive, or worthless, highlighting the vexed relationship humans have with such creatures. Each essay focuses on a so-called trash species—gulls, coyotes, carp, and magpies, among others—examining the biology and behavior of each in contrast to the assumptions widely held about them."

in response to ]
animals  books  environment  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  multispecies  pigeons  wildlife  urban  urbanism  coyotes  seagulls  carp  birds  fish  corvids  biology  behavior  kelsinagy  phillipdavidjohnson  invasivespecies  feral  nature  2013 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Coyote Walks | Tracing paths between city and wild
"“Hal” was the nickname given to a one-year-old coyote that mysteriously appeared in New York City in the spring of 2006. Workers in Manhattan’s Central Park first identified the animal near Hallett Nature Sanctuary— hence the name. In that small oasis, steps away from the hustle of 57th street, they found a small den. After the animal’s discovery a spectacular chase ensued. A police Emergency Service Unit (including helicopter) was deployed in a hunt that lasted about 60 hours. The event inspired local and national news stories. Hal was eventually hit with a tranquilizer dart and taken away to be rehabilitated for re-introduction to the wild. Then, in an unexpected poetic twist, he fell over dead, literally at the moment of being released. Hal had eaten a poisoned rat in the city.

The media attention on the incident and the lack of precedent for managing the chase stirred up a few small controversies. There was a lack of clarity about which city agency had jurisdiction in managing the pursuit in Central Park (while the police were able to respond quickly, Animal Care and Control or the NYC Urban Park Rangers had more relevant knowledge about wildlife). The decision to let Hal go in Putnam county, north of NYC was legally questionable. While Hal had probably come from outside the city, municipal code stated it unlawful to “catch and release” outside city limits. In this case exceptional permission had been obtained from a private landowner. Regardless of the end result, journalists, self proclaimed citizen scientists, real scientists, bloggers, and dog walkers emerged to debate whether Central Park might have the resources to sustainably host a coyote (or for that matter a breeding pair) long term, and what implications it would have for public safety. Several years later, when coyotes appeared in the city again, the capture effort was more evenly coordinated.


I grew up in the Southwest US (Santa Fe, NM— where coyotes are ever-present both as biological entities and as cultural signifiers). I witnessed this event in the media while living in New York City, and continued to think about it in the years following. I began to feel that a larger narrative was looming behind the topical debates. The incident threw the relationship of the city-dweller and the natural-world into relief. It wasnʼt an abstract suggestion of interconnection between the two; it was an unmediated instance of collision– one that seemed to initiate a moment of confusion for both. Hal disrupted a normal state of affairs by presenting as an embodiment of something external to our picture of daily life in an orderly civilization. In this he was as comedic as he was threatening. Was this a typical animal or an exceptional one? What was he thinking? And how, exactly, did he find his way into the city?

One way to try to understand this story was to guess about the geography of the journey. The most obvious geographic challenge is the channel of water that separates the island of Manhattan from the mainland of the Bronx– like a moat surrounding a castle. Adrian Benepe, the NYC Parks Commissioner at the time, hypothesized that Hal crossed a small Amtrack trestle bridge over the Spuyten Duyvil Creek at the northern tip of the Manhattan. This became a prevailing theory, but not the only one. Other scenarios were equally possible. For example, if Hal had utilized the long Bronx River corridor as a path, he might have crossed over the Harlem River further south and east. Because there were few eyewitness accounts, no camera traps, and no DNA analysis done on Hal, the definite crossing location will remain unknown. This crossing is a big “plot point” of the story as presented in the media. It came to stand for the dramatic moment in which a cunning trickster privately transgressed from the natural world into the human world. Looking closely at possible routes however, it becomes clear that there were many such crossings.

The Coyote Walks are fueled by curiosity about what it would mean to cross over the line between “the city” and “nature” oneself, to literally connect the two places. The walks are guesses about how Hal entered New York City that are made with reverse human journeys out of the city. They began as a kind of memorial to the incident— walked around the anniversary of Hal’s death and initially called the “laH” journey, a backwards spelling of the name. The Coyote Walk is now a time to pose questions about urban life and nature, to learn from the experience of stepping away from the city, and to consider walking practices (human and animal) as imaginative acts."
animals  urban  urbanism  2015  coyotes  wildlife  nyc  dillondegive 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Modest Mouse - Coyotes - YouTube
"Inspired by the true story of a coyote that rode Portland's MAX light rail train in 2002."
animals  coyotes  portland  oregon  2002  2015  music  modestmouse  publictransit 
january 2015 by robertogreco
American Beuys: "I Like America & America Likes Me"
"During Sacred Time, the time of Creation, Coyote taught humans how to survive, and the incredible survival of the coyote, both mythologically and biologically, continues to be one of the great American mysteries."

"Mythologically and biologically, Coyote is a survivor and exemplar of evolutionary change. This is what attracted Beuys to Coyote."

"Many people feel that the Vietnamese mistake was the first war that the United States didn't win. That isn't true. For forty-five years, Uncle Sam has fought a war against coyotes...and lost!"

"Beuys's intentions in the Coyote action were primarily therapeutic. Using shamanic techniques appropriate to the coyote, his own characteristic tools, and a widely syncretic symbolic language, he engaged the coyote in a dialogue to get to ”the psychological trauma point of the United States' energy constellation”; namely, the schism between native intelligence and European mechanistic, materialistic, and positivistic values."
navajo  transformer  stephenjaygould  jamesgleick  lewisthomas  fritjofcapra  systemsthinking  holisticapproach  holistic  science  adaptation  adaptability  survival  jeannotsimmen  heinerbastian  christianity  semiotics  josémartí  standingbear  nomads  shamanism  anthroposophy  intelligence  evolution  pests  garysnyder  carolinetisdall  johnmoffitt  1974  benjaminbuchloh  susanhowe  davidlevistrauss  1999  ilikeamericaandamericalikesme  history  rudolfsteiner  environmentalism  animalrights  glvo  trickster  shamans  europe  us  art  myth  coyotes  josephbeuys 
november 2012 by robertogreco

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