About 40 Old Northeast residents listened to Rhonda Latour from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission discuss why coyotes are becoming more prevalent in the neighborhood and how residents should deal with them. Rhonda was the guest speaker at the June 19 HONNA quarterly meeting at Westminster Palms.

Pinellas County may be the second smallest county in the state, but it has one of the largest coyote populations, according to Rhonda. This is evidence of the coyote’s intelligence and its ability to take advantage of urban landscapes. They are opportunistic eaters and take advantage of the abundance of food sources thanks to their human co-habitants, including feline feeding stations, food left outside for household pets, and open garbage containers.

Unlike their larger wolf cousins, coyotes are not classic hunters. They look for the quick catch, such as birds, rodents, and cats, that can be taken quickly and easily. This is the reason coyotes rarely threaten large dogs and humans. In fact, research proves dogs can pose a much greater threat to humans than do the wandering neighborhood coyotes.
Rhonda noted the idea of eradicating coyotes in the county would be fruitless. Males have urban territories of about 3 square miles. You remove that male and he will be quickly replaced by another. And females can increase the number of pups per litter if the area can support a larger population. She reminded the audience that coyotes are here because they have access to reliable food sources. So, refrain from feeding feral cats and wild animals (which is illegal, by-the-way), keep pet food inside the house, and make sure household garbage is contained in tight containers.

In addition to the coyote discussion, attendees were updated on several issues, including the new HONNA “centennial home” flag, upcoming residents survey, neighborhood monuments refresh, and the July 4 Children’s Parade.

Nick Bell, HONNA president, also introduced the latest member of the HONNA Board, Monique Kramer. Monique and her husband, Rob, and greyhound, Lexi, have lived in the Old Northeast for several years. Monique was a pediatric physical therapist for 25 years, specializing in infants with disabilities. She enjoys riding her bike around St. Pete, playing pickleball, and traveling.

Monique is a big fan of our beautiful street tree canopy and will be promoting the need to plant more trees while maintaining the existing canopy. She also chairs the Membership Committee and is the homeowner liaison for the popular porch parties.
The next quarterly meeting will be held September 18.