Monday, November 11, 2013

Coyote 2010

WEISS, SUSAN FELDMAN Susan Feldman Weiss, born in Perth Amboy, NJ in 1938, passed away on November 6, 2013 after a three-year fight against cancer. A resident of Corrales for 36 years, Susan was a dedicated defender of local wildlife. She was the founder of Coexist With Coyotes, an organization focused on helping residents and wild coyotes live in peace. She was a certified wildlife rescuer with Fur and Feathers for many years.

I had seen Susan Weiss for years, walking around Corrales.  She dressed in tennis shoes, long pants, a long skirt, a jacket, a hat, and if it was especially cold, oven mitts on her hands.  At some point, I figured out that this was the person who constantly wrote letters to the editor of our local newspaper, the Corrales Comment, about our coyote population.  Then, as I became more involved with village politics, I would s often see her at council meetings, there to speak up for the wild animals.  Close up, I saw that her make-up was applied with a heavy hand; spots of brillant orange on her cheeks and bright red lipstick.  I had no idea of her age, thinking she could be somewhere on either side of me.

She was passionate about coyotes, but really, she was passionate about all wild animals.  There was no room for gray when it came to protecting her charges.  Susan's (extremely) long letters and articles showed a deep understanding of what these animals needed to survive and, clearly, she felt compelled to educate us with her knowledge and passion.  Her stance also landed her in the middle of a hot Corrales topic:  whether to kill the coyotes because they are such pests and so dangerous regarding our pets, livestock, and (some say) children, or to allow them to continue their lives, doing the good things coyotes do in an ecosystem, sharing our community with us. There was no question on which side Susan stood.

A few years ago, on our way to do errands, my daughter and I spotted a thin, mangy looking coyote curled up, sleeping by the side of the road.  On our return trip, she was still there, so we pulled over to see if we could at least get her away from the side of the road.  Just as we pulled over, Susan and a bearded man pulled up behind us in a pickup truck.  They both put on huge leather gloves, and Susan took out a long, heavy stick with a noose at the end.  Clearly they were there to capture our same coyote.  The coyote sprang up from where it was laying and took off, all of us in pursuit.  Teal and I tried to herd her back towards Susan and the man, but she was way too fast and clever for us. We exchanged only a few words, and then, when it was clear that the coyote was on her own, we got back in our trucks and headed home.  I wish now that I would have taken that opportunity to tell Susan how much I admired and respected her.  I just assumed she would always be around,  walking the village in her long skirts, tennis shoes, and oven mitts looking out for our wild things.

1 comment:

  1. i forgot about that run in with the coyote. i read in Animals in Translation that animals have an incredible ability to ignore pain when they feel threatened or if they are being watched. Good chance that coyote was on its way out, but she brought herself out of it just to escape from what she saw as immediate and certain death. Great post mom


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