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Old 09-21-2010, 04:43 AM   #1
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Do Not Feed the Wildlife

Out in Death Valley there is an amazing amount of wild life. Birds, mice, coyotes and lots of other stuff that you often hear at night but you never see.

There are lots of signs DO NOT FEED WILDLIFE posted about everywhere and they request that you do not even feed the birds. This is suppose to keep them wild and not dependent on humans for food.

Willa and me were heading up to Scotties Castle to go on the tour. We ambled along a two lane road going slow and soaking in the beauty of the desert when Willa broke the silence with ''WATCH OUT FOR THAT COYOTE''... He was standing on the center line of the road and he looked bad, really BAD... His tail was drooping down, his head was down and he walked with a limp....... His coat looked bedraggled and his eyes were mere slits............. I stopped immediately as he made no attempt to move out of the road. He slowly turned his head in our direction and limped a couple steps toward us. Willa advised that he had probably been hit by a car and was on his last leg. I agreed because he looked so rough. We pondered sharing food and water with him but we hesitated because of the warnings of the signs we had seen. DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE..... Heck, he wasn't ''Wildlife'',,,,,,,,,,,, he was barley ''Life'' at all. We watched him for a few minutes as he hobbled across in front of us and laid down on the edge of the road. I honked the horn but he paid no attention. He really looked bad.......... We left him there feeling really bad about not helping him in some way. We actually figured we would find him dead when we came back out later.

We stopped at the booth going into Scotties Castle and I informed the ranger that there was a dieing coyote down the road about a mile. The ranger smiled and said that was Wylie Coyote............ and nothing was wrong with him. The ranger admonished us that we HAD NOT GIVEN HIM FOOD OR WATER.. We of course said no but we were sure he would be dead when we went back ....

The ranger stood at our window and described Wylie to a tee. Head and tail down, looking really bad, limping, bedraggled coat, standing in the road, etc....... Yep, that is him ....... The ranger told us that he had perfected his ''act'' over a long period of time. He stood in the same place all day and people broke the law by feeding him because he looks so bad. He said that they did not issue citations when they caught folks feeding Wylie because his act was so good. In retrospect we remembered that he was not skin and bones. Not at all. The ranger assured us that we would see him in the same place with the same act when we left. He said that coyotes were very intelligent animals and very observant and that they could live about anywhere. Wylie had figured out an easier way to ''make a living'' than chasing mice and rabbits I guess.

We went on the tour and really enjoyed it. I advise everyone to drive up to Scotties Castle for the tour.

We left coming back down the road and ............GUESS WHAT.........
Standing in the curve on the white line, with one paw held limp in the air off the pavement, with his head and tail down and his eyes a slit, with his tongue draped out was Wylie.......... I slowed down and gave him a toot and he slowly turned his shaggy head as we passed. He still looked AWFUL..........( note.... I guess he stands on the ''white line'' because it is cooler than the rest of the pavement.....)

We spent a week in Death Valley. We were there when the 49rs held their annual reunion. We bought a ''Pass'' to all the activities and really enjoyed the people. Everyone was very friendly and helpful and the entertainment was great. Every night they had ''something'' over to the stage. When we get out there again I will register and recite the Cremation of Sam McGee on ''talent nite''..........

Word to the wise. CARRY WARM CLOTHING... It gets cold at night.
Observe all safety warnings about water and travel,,,,,etc,,,,etc,,,and watch out for Wylie the Coyote..............

Thank a Vet for your freedom..........
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:56 AM   #2
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"A fed bear is a dead bear".
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:32 PM   #3
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Wow, cunning coyote. Very human behavior.
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:25 AM   #4
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thats amazing that they learn to look defence-less then the possibility of food increases and the fact the park ranger named him.

i always think of this now when it comes to wiley coyote
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:18 PM   #5
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Headed up to Scotties Castle this weekend. Will update you on Wylie.
"I won't be wronged I won't be insulted I won't be layed a hand on. I don't do these things to other people. And I require the same from them." (John Bernard Books) John Wayne The Shootist his last Movie.
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:07 PM   #6
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The wife and I drove through Death Valley back in the mid '90s. As we were entering the Valley, I believe from the East side, a coyote appeared on the side of the road - this area was remote from any visitor center or campground. We stopped the car and looked at it and took some photos - a healthy specimen - evidently not Wylie (or maybe it WAS him in his youth!). We were shocked when we began to move the vehicle and the coyote started running along side of our car! - right along side the passenger window! When we stopped the vehicle, he stopped and waited near the car. And then started running along side us again when we took off! We never gave it any food, but evidently he had been fed enough times by humans to reinforce this behavior. I seem to remember a second coyote in a similar state of semi domestication in the Scotty's castle area. I believe he was spotted near the parking area. I have photos of both animals. Your story brought this memory back. Humans will be humans - They fed the wild animals then - They will continue to do so in the future.
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