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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Coyotes pay the price for Colorado town's shortsightedness

Published 02/17/09
By Monica Engebretson, Senior Program Associate

The city council of Greenwood Village in Colorado recently decided to get in touch with their inner redneck by adopting several new ordinances which will allow the trapping and the shooting of coyotes in the city's limits.

Geez, great thinking brainiacs ... choose a strategy that has failed to work for over a hundred years!

The coyote has been persecuted since European settlers first set foot in North America and hundreds of thousands are still killed each year. And yet, there are now more coyotes in North America than ever before. You gotta hand it to those coyotes.

Although such "Yahoo go git 'em" approaches allow officials to tell the public that they are "doing something," the effectiveness of lethal control programs is short-lived, at best.

Within a very short period of time coyotes re-fill the vacant territory and conflicts will once again began. This cyclical recurrence of human/coyote conflicts happens for two reasons:

  1. Trapping and removing coyotes does not address the root of the problem: a constant source of food related attractants via poorly secured garbage cans, overflowing bird feeders, pet food left outside, etc. Unless these systemic issues are addressed and people take personal responsibility to remove attractants and discourage unwanted wildlife, conflicts will persist.
  2. Because coyotes are able to respond to anthropogenic population reductions through compensatory mortality. Once trapped and removed, coyotes will soon fill the void by increasing their reproductive rate and litter size and by breeding at an earlier age. Other coyotes from outside the community will also migrate in to fill the empty ecological niche. Hence, indiscriminately trapping and killing coyotes may actually lead to population increases.

Let's hope the other cities in Colorado choose a more forward-thinking approach. Several Colorado cities are working with the Colorado Division of Wildlife this week devise a coyote strategy.

Born Free USA has been working directly with two of these Colorado cities to provide them with our model coyote policy and educational materials which emphasis co-existence, human responsibility, and humane non-lethal approaches.

We also provided information to writers at the Denver Post, which recently published a great editorial on the issue. They summed it up perfectly:

It's our responsibility to manage that interaction in an intelligent way, and not just go Annie Oakley on interloping coyotes.

For more information on living with coyotes (and other wildlife,) visit Born Free USA's coexisting with wildlife pages.

Blogging off,

Monica

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