Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for

 

Date of this Version

2011

Citation

Open Space and Trails Division, City and County of Broomfield, Colorado, (2011) 38 pages.

Abstract

In the summer of 2011, the Anthem Highlands neighborhood of the City and County of Broomfield (Broomfield), Colorado experienced multiple serious incidents between humans and coyotes. Broomfield has a detailed policy about coexisting with wildlife in general, and coyotes in particular, that includes extensive public education and outreach. Because of the serious nature of the incidents, the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, with assistance from USDA-Wildlife Services and in collaboration with Broomfield, engaged in coyote removal efforts. One coyote was lethally removed after the first incident, another was shot after the second incident, 8 coyotes were lethally removed (7 shot and 1 captured by foothold trap) after the third incident, and 1 adult male coyote was shot after the last incident.

In the fall of 2011, the City solicited proposals from coyote researchers and experts to come to Broomfield, investigate the circumstances surrounding the incidents, and evaluate the policies and practices in place with the intent of making recommendations for future management, outreach, and research. A panel of three researchers, Dr. Stan Gehrt of Ohio State University, Dr. Julie Young of USDAWS- NWRC-Predator Research Facility and Utah State University, and Dr. Seth Riley of the National Park Service and University of California Los Angeles, were selected for the project. The Panel visited Broomfield on 18 and 19 January 2012 and held meetings and conducted interviews with the different agencies involved with coyote management and families involved in the 2011 incidents.

The incidents during the summer of 2011 likely all involved one coyote, specifically the red adult male that was removed on 22 September 2011. The Panel believes this coyote was responsible for all of the incidents for several reasons: (1) the incidents occurred over a short time period; (2) they occurred in close proximity to one another with three of them being along the same school channel path and stream; and (3) the pattern was similar in that they involved a child between 2 and 6 years old, most occurred in the evening between 19:00 and 19:45, and in all cases the coyote approached quickly from cover, attacked with a fast initial bite, and then backed or ran away quickly, especially after attention from an adult. The bites were likely attempted predatory attacks, with the movement and sounds of the children mistaken as those of potential prey items. These incidents were similar to predatory attacks that have occurred in other cities in that they were aimed at children, involved minor wounds, occurred in residential areas, and were carried out by an apparently healthy coyote. As far as the Panel could determine, intentional food provisioning was not a factor in the incidents, as it has been in many other urban incidents.

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