Growing up with the surname Fox, as well as a veterinarian/canid ethologist/bioethicist father, it’s no surprise Camilla Fox grew up to become the founder and director of Project Coyote, an organization committed to “the promotion of compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science and advocacy.” That translates to protecting the lives of coyotes, wolves, bobcats, cougars, bears, and other North American carnivores, including her namesake animal, the fox.
Her organization chose the coyote as their flagship symbol because it remains the most persecuted animal in North America, surpassing even the historically maligned and villainized wolf. Every year, hundreds of thousands of coyotes (not to mention thousands of wolves, bobcat, bear and other predators) are killed by the federal government and hunters alike, all in the name of wildlife management, presumably protecting the human interests of livestock, hunting and public safety. Scientific research, however, shows the methods used by agencies such as USDA Wildlife Services simply don’t work, and in fact often exacerbate the problem. In addition to misguided policies, a certain trophy hunting culture in America has made the mass killing of wildlife into sporting events, known as killing contests, that glorify the slaughter of coyotes and other animals perceived as pests or vermin.
Project Coyote believes we can do better. We can do better by cultivating compassion for wildlife and respecting their rightful place in the landscape. When it comes to legitimate human-wildlife conflicts, Project Coyote introduces ranchers, city governments, and others to successful, non-lethal solutions, proving coexistence is possible - we really can live with wildlife. Camilla’s portrait is an artistic testament to that fact.