On a plane trip I sat next to a very kind and wonderful lady. We started talking and as usual after about 45 seconds I mentioned our wild animal nations and my heart’s desire and life’s work for a healthy coexistence with them.
As it turned out she was on the same page as I and proceeded to tell me the very moving story of her “good neighbor”.
She lives in an area that is frequented by coyotes and bobcats, owls, hawks, and other wild ones that not only hunt rabbits and rodents but also take out the occasional cat who had escaped from the safety of the house.
One day, she recalls a neighbor came and rang her doorbell, imploring her to sign a petition for one of her other neighbors to stop killing the coyotes in the area by trapping and snaring them, then skinning them and hanging their fur in his back yard to dry. A vast majority of the neighbors were taking a stand against this “common” practice since there is no law to protect coyotes from such a fate.
Not only were they against the killing of their wild neighbors but they explicitly stated in their petition that they had moved to the area to be with wild ones and to share their territory since they were aware of the fact that our animal nations had inhabited the area way before they ever did.
Enough people signed to make an impact and the petition was delivered to the coyote hunter.
His response surprised them when they read his letter.
“I have always considered myself to be a good neighbor” it read “and find it shocking to learn that this is not the case in your eyes”. He had been in the area for 40 years and thought that he was doing his neighbors a favor by eradicating the local coyotes for the safety of his fellow human beings and their pets in favor of domestic animals. That was how he had been raised and up this point he had never questioned his stand on wildlife.
It took his neighbors’ letter to trigger a change of heart on his part.
Please never let us forget the power of We, the power of our collective heart and voice paired with education. Many of us are “only” perpetuating in good faith what they have learned from those that came before them. It