How Bobcats, Coyotes, and Foxes Help Farmers

Farmers deal with a variety of pest species that can devastate their crops in one way or another, from defoliating insects, to burrowing rodents that eat the roots of trees and vegetables. There are many different tips and tricks, including poisons and traps, to deal with such pests. However, most of these prove to be inefficient, costly, and time-consuming. Farmers are increasingly shying away from traps and poisons because of the lasting impact they cause to the environment.

One such farmer wrote a blog about his experience fighting gophers that killed his 250 orchard trees on his website, In Light of Nature. After trying every method in the book, he talked to a neighboring alfalfa farmer who let coyotes (Canis latrans) control the gophers naturally. After witnessing this, he changed his mind toward these native carnivores, as well as foxes (Vulpes sp.) and bobcats (Lynx rufus), seeing them as a benefit to his farm, rather than a nuisance.

This experience shows that coexistence is possible with carnivores, where they benefit us and our farming operations, if we just let them do their job in controlling rodent populations. Can we learn from this farmer’s experience and coexist with our carnivore neighbors?

Jessica Whalen

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