Few cities in L.A. County have enough open space to attract an abundance of wildlife, but Glendale is among those lucky few.

Among the animals that populate Glendale’s open spaces, even fewer are predators. Other than birds of prey and the very occasional mountain lion, the coyote has a virtual monopoly on the local predatory market in the foothills.

Residents near Brand Park have recently reported an apparent rise in the coyote population in the area, and some people are concerned for their safety.

This is a natural response, but where there is open space, there will be coyotes, sometimes with the courage to venture beyond the brush and into people’s backyards.

Co-existence should be the goal, not the elimination of one of California’s few remaining natural predators.

Mice, rats, gophers, rabbits and squirrels would love to see the coyote eliminated, but it belongs here, and areas abutting open space in Glendale would probably turn their complaints to the burgeoning rodent population if coyotes were hunted out.

Specific coyotes, however, sometimes do cause problems that transcend its nature.

They should be afraid of humans, but the more they learn that we’re a food source — whether from our garbage, litter or backyard pet food dishes — the more likely they’ll come near us, and our children and pets.

The best way to keep a coyote from lurking around a home is to eliminate what it likes — food. Rodents might be savvy and small enough to find their way into homes, but coyotes — as resourceful as they’ve proven to be over the years — still haven’t figured that one out without the luxury of an open door.

Keep your food inside. Keep your small pets inside, especially during the early morning and at night. And on trash day, wait until the morning to put it out.

If residents do things habitually wrong, coyotes will learn their patterns and keep coming back for more.

And if they keep coming back, getting closer and closer to humans, perhaps even attacking a child, they will be destroyed.

We’re lucky enough to live in an area with large enough swaths of unpaved land to encourage wildlife to make a home.

The more clean we keep our urban areas, and the more mindful we are of keeping food sources in the house, the more likely we are to see the coyote on the trail rather than in the driveway.

For more information about dealing with urban coyotes, visit the L.A County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures website at http://acwm.co.la.ca. us/scripts/coyo.htm.

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