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3 coyotes killed and put in city dumpsters; 1 wounded coyote flees to Centennial
Greenwood Village, CO—Feb. 17. In the span of two weeks in January, Greenwood Village police shot 4 coyotes, one of which fled to nearby Centennial. All of the shooting occurred between 2500-3700 E. Long Road, located next to the Highline Canal. None of the coyotes was involved in aggressive behavior when shot. Especially concerning is an incident that occurred on January 21, when a police officer shot and wounded a coyote, who then fled. The shooter tracked the animal for ¾ mile, at which point the injured coyote fled southeast to Centennial.
“We’re outraged that the police are again killing coyotes on sight in Greenwood Village,” said Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians. “Killing coyotes doesn’t work. With its long history of lethal control, this city should know better than any other that killing coyotes does not solve any problems.”
The shootings make January 2011 the bloodiest month in Greenwood Village since December 2009, when police shot 4 coyotes and a homeowner also killed one. The violence against coyotes comes in spit of a High Country News report in late December 2010, in which Greenwood Village police were quoted as saying “‘things have quieted down a lot.’”
Residents are calling for the city to adopt a management plan that emphasizes coexistence with, not killing, coyotes. Greenwood Village’s coyote management plan is the most lethal in the Denver metropolitan area. By allowing the city to kill any “habituated” coyote, it permits killing of any (and every) coyote in the city. It stands in contrast to plans and policies followed by Centennial, Denver, and elsewhere, which generally focus on hazing and education efforts and reserve control for coyotes who demonstrate aggression toward people. Those cities recognize that coyotes are a native carnivore that is a natural part of the Denver metro area’s environment.
WildEarth Guardians and some city residents have maintained that the city’s indiscriminate shooting program is much more of a threat than any that coyotes pose. In addition to the coyote wounded on January 21, police officers have previously wounded animals and not tracked them down and euthanized them. The police may therefore be creating a graver problem, of desperate, maimed coyotes.
“As a resident of Greenwood Village, I have witnessed the cruel shooting and trapping of coyotes for years. The city is not acting with the best interest of the public in mind. Its resort to gunfire creates more problems than it solves,” stated Kristin Pittman, Greenwood Village resident.
In response to public criticism, Greenwood Village has stated that it is hazing coyotes. But the recent spate of shootings indicates the city has continued with a tactic it has used for over 16 years: killing coyotes on sight.
Scientists have discovered that coyotes in lethally controlled populations may increase breeding and have larger litter sizes. Thus, killing coyotes can, ironically, increase coyote populations. Coyotes are a native carnivore and play an important part in Colorado’s ecosystems. By controlling smaller predators, they benefit ground-nesting birds and other wildlife, thereby maintaining greater biodiversity.