The UBC Coyote is in a sad state

The UBC Coyote needs help. In the environment currently existing on this campus, this animal has no safe home.

Relocation may be an option, but the status quo cannot continue. A coyote is not a tourist attraction, and its treatment by this campus shames us all.

Since first encountering this animal in January 2013 I have had the pleasure of several encounters, most often alone on the peripheries of campus.

In those days this animal commanded a respect that couldn’t be felt untinged by fear, there was the impression of a free-running, untamed force. It moved with strength and elegance then.

It has been dismaying to see it increasingly looked on as little more than a stray dog. On our last two encounters I’ve been moved at the now sad sight of this once-strong coyote. There is no longer any predatory strength, no bearing of fangs or bounding through the fog, no howls, not even a bark. Now it slinks, balding tail between its legs.

Our campus has brought this coyote to heel as little more than a tourist attraction, something to gawk at dumbly between classes, and, worse yet, to throw rocks at.

When we last met, this coyote that once stirred a primeval feeling within, once stood as a reminder of the wild country this campus was before the university came, was slinking by the bike racks at Irving K Library, a few feet from some students out for a cigarette.

When I drew my camera, fixed the lens on him, and stepped closer the only reaction was a startled glance. The vacant eyes held nothing of the old howl.

To see so closely a subject on which I would have turned my lens only from a distance months before replaced my happiness at our latest meeting with stark sadness.

Wondering what droplet would blur my viewfinder in the absence of rain, I realized that it was a tear.

To keep it from becoming a torrent as he was run off by a portly man hurling rocks and abuse, was more difficult than stemming the fear running through me when first we met. I felt profoundly that I failed a friend for not having the lens or the courage to bear witness to this latest abuse.

While it was once a pleasure to see him roam campus it is clear there is no place for him. Rocks thrown and hands extended invite an unnecessary barbarity, the only question --

will it be a whimpering starvation in some ditch, or the sharp crack of a park ranger’s rifle after a rock thrown or hand extended causes a final bearing of fangs?

Those of us who say we are friends must look for another path, before the die is cast. We must find him a better home.