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Coyotes Wreak Havoc In California Vineyards

Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Canis latrans, or coyote.

Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

California vineyards face a lot of pests, most of them, insects. But a four-legged critter is also becoming a serious problem.

It's estimated there are between 1.5 milliion and 3 million coyotes in California. While the total may be uncertain, the population is increasing.

In the Central Valley the animals can be found making their dens in the vineyards.

Fresno County Department of Agriculture Wildlife Specialist Fred Rinder says in his county alone coyotes have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage especially to vineyard drip irrigation systems.

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A vineyard with coyote damage. Rich Ibarra / Capital Public Radio

"And they'll chew up the drip, they'll chew up the emitters. The other problem they have is as they dig their dens as they're digging and chewing, they're chewing the roots of the vine itself." - Fred Rinder, Fresno Dept. of Agriculture

Rinder says since coyotes are omnivores they eat the grapes too.

He says lights and noise cannons can help scare them away, but keeping them away can prove difficult.

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The remnants of a drip irrigation system after coyotes chewed through the lines. Rich Ibarra / Capital Public Radio

 

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Rich Ibarra

Contributing Central Valley/Foothills Reporter

As the Central Valley correspondent, Rich Ibarra covers San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties, along with the foothill areas including Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. He covers politics, the economy and issues affecting the region.   Read Full Bio