Coyote named Rue is a local educational ambassador - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Coyote named Rue is a local educational ambassador

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Like many areas, Ottawa Hills is working to educate people about coyotes. The animals have been in the area for years and Village leaders are actively getting the word out about how to live with them.

Coyotes live in all 88 Ohio counties and that's been the case for a long time. Most of the time they do whatever they can to avoid people. The staff at Nature's Nursery is hoping a coyote they have will help teach a lot of people about the often misunderstood species, "Coyotes are everywhere but people rarely see them because they are very shy animals, they really don't want to interact with us."

Coyotes are nothing new in Ottawa Hills. Marc Thompson is the Village Administrator,"We had a number of calls several years ago, then they died down. Now we're getting a number of calls again. In fact, I saw one myself the other day."

The Village sent out a newsletter detailing ways to help keep them away from homes and yards, "They are really nothing to be afraid of, but we do tell people how to avoid having them in their yards. Don't leave food outside for your pets or other animals, make sure your trash is secure and keep an eye on your small pets."

Nature's Nursery is a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in Whitehouse. Among the hundreds of animals at the center is Rue the coyote. Rue was taken from the wild as a baby by a family who tried to raise her as a pet, that obviously did not work out. Rue now serves as an educational ambassador. Laura Zitzelberger is the Operations Director, "Coyotes have a close family social structure. The young from one year often help raise the babies the next year."

Although Rue lives in the Nature's Nursery house right now in the coming weeks she will be moving outside to a special building that is designed to meet her needs. It includes an inside den, an outside run and even a tunnel for her to explore.

Even though she is trained to do things a dog would, Zitzelberger says the staff is very careful not to treat her like one, "We make her sit and stay, but that is only so that we can interact with her and to trim her nails. We do not try to fool ourselves into thinking she is a pet dog. While she is adorable, we always remember she is a wild animal."

Zitzelberger says whether you like them or not we need coyotes to maintain a balance in nature. Coyotes mainly feed on rodents, helping keep things like mice and rat populations in check, "As long as people let them do what they need to do they are a valuable animal. They are the only large predator we still have here in Northwest Ohio. People should not be worried that they are going to go after their children, they are not an animal that is aggressive to people under normal circumstances."

Of course there have been cases of coyotes killing small pets. Once again, to prevent that from happening, keep your pets on a leash while outside, because coyotes obviously can't tell the difference between your cat or dog and a squirrel or rabbit.

No matter how cute Rue looks, Nature's Nursery wants us re-iterate that coyotes are wild animals not pets. While Rue is being used for educational purposes, the state of Ohio does not allow places like Nature's Nursery to rehabilitate and release coyotes as of right now, so they can't treat injured or sick coyotes.

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