Date of this Version
Human–Wildlife Interactions 11(2):146–155, Fall 2017.
The concept of hazing (aversive conditioning) is often promoted as a tool for reducing human–coyote (Canis latrans) conflicts in urban environments. Little scientific evidence exists on the effectiveness of hazing, particularly hazing applied by residents (i.e., community-level hazing). Wildlife professionals question if residents will properly and consistently apply hazing techniques and if hazing impacts coyote behavior over short- and long-term periods. We describe 2 separate efforts designed to encourage residents to haze coyotes in the Denver Metro Area, Colorado, USA: a citizen science program and an open space hazing trial. Both efforts were intended to be management techniques that either could be deployed or are already commonly deployed by urban coyote managers. In addition to educating residents about how, when, and how to quantify individual coyote response to hazing efforts, the citizen science program measured methods used for, and short-term impacts of, resident-based hazing and the overall impact of resident involvement in the program. The open space hazing trial measured the impact of on-site education tools and begins to assess if posted signs and on-site education efforts change visitor acceptance and behavior around coyote hazing. The citizen science program targeted a highly engaged audience and required a significant investment of time and attention for both managers and residents. The open space hazing trial targeted the casual park visitor and required little to no investment of time and attention for both managers and residents. The citizen science program produced 207 trained citizen scientists that generated 96 documented hazing events. Voice, noise, and approach were the hazing methods most commonly deployed by participants. Citizen scientists recorded hazing responses varying from rapid fleeing of the area to approaching the person doing the hazing, with the most common response being the coyote leaving the area. In the presence of domestic dogs, hazing was less effective. Citizen scientists reported improved understanding and acceptance of coyote management tools as well as increased confidence and capacity to deal with human–coyote conflict in their community. For the open space hazing trial, we provided non-personal hazing education using signs, email, and social media as well as staff ed education stations in 2 urban open space parks with highly visible coyotes and prior histories of coyote conflict. Based on self-reported (n = 495) results, most park visitors indicated they would haze a coyote in the future and that the educational effort influenced their decision to haze or not.