To help deal with those situations, Broomfield has created a draft of a Coexistence with Wildlife Policy. The document has been 14 months in the making and was crafted after seeking input from citizens, wildlife experts from the Colorado Division of Wildlife, wildlife consultants and the Broomfield Police Department.
Important to the plan is a public education program to inform citizens about how to safely coexist with wildlife.
"We have some people that move here that have never been exposed to wildlife and so helping with that public education is important," Kristan Pritz, the director of Open Space and Trails, said.
The plan also calls for the use of hazing in dealing with problem coyotes.
The plan calls for two levels of hazing. Low-level hazing would involve citizens or city staff attempting to frighten coyotes that wander into neighborhoods by shouting at them or making noise. The goal would be to get the coyote to leave the neighborhood and not come back.
If a coyote comes back to a neighborhood repeatedly, after consulting with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, trained city employees would use paint ball guns to shoot the coyote. This less than lethal method would hopefully keep the coyote from coming back again.
"The idea is that if you can try and stop that problem from becoming more serious, you can avoid lethal control," Pritz said.
Like many communities along the Front Range, Broomfield has had a series of incidents involving human conflicts with coyotes. In January and February of 2009, there were two incidents in which coyotes attacked people. As a result of those two attacks, coyotes were shot and killed near Tom Frost Reservoir.
The new hazing policy would deal with coyotes that have become habituated and lost their fear of humans. Hazing would not be used on coyotes that stay away from neighborhoods and people.
"I think that Broomfield will be setting a humane precedent that will attract national attention," Marc Bekoff, an expert in coyote behavior, said. "I think this sort of aversive conditioning and different levels of aversive conditioning is very good because I'll bet most coyotes will leave with just some minor hazing."
Communities throughout Colorado and the United States have been looking for an effective policy for dealing with wildlife and specifically for coyotes. Broomfield has already been contacted by other communities in the metro area requesting the policy proposal be shared.
Broomfield's Open Space and Trails Department will be hosting an open house at the municipal building on May 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. The purpose will be to answer questions about the policy draft and solicit input from the public. It is hoped that a final version of the Coexistence with Wildlife Policy will be ready for Broomfield City Council action by August.
"I think the precedent that they are setting and also spreading across all wildlife is really one that will get national attention," Bekoff said.
(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)