A financial incentive program will not be implemented to help control Perth County's thriving coyote population - at least not now. On April 1, Perth County council heard from a Ministry of Natural Resources official, who urged them to consider some non-lethal options.MNR area manager Mike Malhiot indicated paying hunters to deal with "problem" coyotes would not significantly reduce the numbers. Studies suggest litter sizes would simply increase to replace the animals.Malhiot explained there is also great opportunity for abuse of the program because depending on the rate that is set, "coyotes could become more valuable than livestock." He then told the councillors that human-coyote conflicts can be controlled by taking steps to protect families and investments. Among them were: becoming more knowledgeable about the animals, restricting opportunities for them to find food on private property, and keeping pets and livestock safe by reducing the potential for an encounter. The actual severity of the situation was questioned by a few councillors. Perth East Mayor Ian Forrest told his colleagues that after 30 years as a sheep farmer, he has not experienced coyote predation.West Perth Mayor John VanBakel mentioned there are other wildlife population concerns that should be examined as well. He said, "I have damage from deer and geese." He added that, other than rabbit numbers being down, he really did not feel coyotes are causing significant local issues.After considering all the information, council decided to launch a public education effort rather than encourage a lethal control measure. That was certainly a positive outcome, according to the MNR's Malhiot. In a later interview he confirmed the number of coyotes has certainly increased across the region over the past decade, but there has not been corresponding growth in the number of incidents. Malhiot explained, "The (MNR) data on the number of livestock compensation claims has been up and down. Last year there were no (official) claims (in Perth County)." When asked how the province is handling concerns about flourishing coyote numbers, he said, "Our approach to human-wildlife conflict is always to look towards prevention as the first option. Do what you can to resolve the problem and recognize wildlife have a role to play in our environment." The response at the local level has been anything but consistent. Malhiot said, "Most jurisdictions have programs in place to deal with problem wildlife. There is a huge amount of material to help educate people."He added, "Human reaction to their abundance is going to vary depending on the degree of severity that any individual wildlife may be causing. There are good solutions without actually killing wildlife"