The Smithsonian National Zoological has apparently become an all you can eat buffet for coyotes!
FRONT ROYAL, Va. — The Smithsonian National Zoological Park says it wants to hunt down the trio of coyotes that recently killed a dama gazelle at the zoo’s sprawling Conservation Biology Institute here.
Plans are, in the next few weeks, to target the coyote group that got into an enclosure and was seen near the dead gazelle, a member of a critically endangered species. Those predators, having found a good food source, are now liable to kill other such vulnerable animals at the 3,200-acre site.
The institute’s deputy director, William Pitt, said last month that it was a painful decision, but the zoo has a responsibility to protect endangered species from predators, such as the gazelle from the coyotes.
Several coyote sightings have recently been reported in Fairfax and Prince William counties.
“It is a choice you have to make,” Pitt said in an interview. “It hasn’t been an easy decision for me. . . . If there were a thousand coyotes on the property and this [killing] didn’t happen, it would be fine.”
The gazelle’s death was the first time a coyote killed one of the institute’s animals.
Pitt said the hunt will try to target only the coyotes that killed the gazelle, by focusing on the specific territory where they live around the complex.
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