There are exotic creatures on the Isle these days
sharing pastures with the sheep and cattle,
lamas and alpacas far from Andean slopes
and donkeys which have never carried burden.
Craning necks and trumpet ears on sentry duty,
sharp hooves and brays to drive away the coyotes
hunting new-born lambs and calves , as
blue herons spear the voles in fields of soya bean.
Thirty years ago the coyotes trekked across the frozen strait
to raise their pups in scrub-land and black spruce,
driving red fox to ditch and suburb,
in a dwindling space to co-exist with man.
The trapper snared six dozen this winter past,
he ships the pelts to China, we buy them back as parka trim.
Bryan D. Cook Ottawa December 2, 2012
Context for "Competition"
The summer of 2012 was the first time I realised that donkeys and the lama family are used on the Island as guard animals against the coyote ; that herons hunt land mammals; and that the coyote does not tolerate the fox in his territory. It is now very common to see the fox beside the road and on urban streets. I also did not know that pelts are exported from the Island to China. Thanks to Pearl Pirie and David Blaikie for their critiques.
Lama on guard in P.E.I. (photo courtesy of "GuyC", P.E.I.)
Coyote on path (photo by the author)