In recent years, coyotes have been blamed for a number of missing pets both on the East Bank and West Bank of St. Charles Parish. Now, Monsanto is trying to help control the coyote population by trapping the predators at the Monsanto facility in Luling.
Warren Fremen, co-chair of the plant’s wildlife committee, said six of the animals have been caught over the past two months.
"We have 1,100 acres of perfect land for them," he said. "We have no control over them at the plant. They breed at will and they have no natural predators."
Fremen said trapping on the property began as a cooperative agreement between the plant and the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office after deputies found a coyote that had been run over on a road adjacent to the plant.
"We had rules and there was absolutely no trapping in the site," Fremen said. "We had to talk to the plant manager to get the program approved."
The plant has since been running a coyote relocation program in concert with the Sheriff’s Office to remove the predators from its grounds.
Fremen said because no hunting or trapping has been allowed at the plant’s nature preserve, a community of coyotes has grown over the past decade.
"The problem is the coyotes have gone unchecked for the past ten years," Fremen said. "We’ve estimated there are probably 60 to 100 coyotes. So we are trying to get rid of them."
Jeremiah Davis, who works with the K-9 unit of the Sheriff’ Office, sets up traps for the animals that include motion sensors.
"You have a camera that detects any motion in the trap," Fremen said. "So basically in the off hours or on the weekends if they catch a coyote an email gets sent to his cell phone. It’s all very high tech"
Fremen said he is happy with the results so far and he thinks that the relationship between Monsanto and the Sheriff’s Office will continue to produce results with Davis doing the trapping.
"We are very pleased with the job he is doing," Fremen said.
Coyotes have been blamed for the disappearance of a number pets in the parish, most notably a Siamese cat owned by Sheriff Greg Champagne. Angie Robert, the animal control director for the parish, said that construction around the parish is forcing coyotes into neighborhoods.
Robert said coyotes are prevalent year round, but that they may appear more common in the summer because the offspring are getting bigger. She added that coyotes can be out at all times of the night and day.
"I have walked in on a coyote in broad daylight that was 20 feet from me," she said.
Robert said the best thing residents can do to avoid their pets becoming a coyote’s next meal is keep them inside.
"If you keep (pets) outside they will become a part of the food chain," she said. "People should keep garbage and any potential food source, like pets, inside or protected. When there are no food sources, coyotes will no longer go there."