Coyote attacks will be tracked in Colorado |

Coyote attacks will be tracked in Colorado

Todd Hartman
Rocky Mountain News
Matt McClain/Rocky Mountain NewsA skinned coyote sits on a display table as city decision makers on wildlife issues attended an all day symposium by the Colorado Division of Wildlife to learn about coyote biology, state laws, and outreach efforts.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife plans to begin tracking coyote attacks on humans after numerous requests for comprehensive data on the problem.

As it stands, DOW has investigated eight attacks in the last five years. It believes there are others, but because people and agencies involved – including local animal control and police departments – don’t always provide the information to DOW, the state agency doesn’t have a formal tally.

Discussion about tracking such events came up this morning during a gathering of about 200 city officials, wildlife biologists, open space managers and law enforcement officials for a day-long symposium on coyotes and how best to manage a growing population of the creatures embedded in the metro area.

The meeting, at Jefferson County Fairgrounds, comes after some cities have reported an increase in encounters between people and coyotes, including at least two recent attacks in Broomfield and Greenwood Village, as well as attacks on pets.

Even so, in many cases, coyote encounters are hardly new. Colorado Division of Wildlife officials noted that some cities have been dealing with the issue for decades, where others are seeing conflicts for the first time.

“Coyotes are Front Range natives,” said Jennifer Churchill, a spokeswoman for DOW, during a morning presentation. “A lot of these coyotes were born and raised in the metro area; they’re comfortable here and familiar with their neighborhoods.”

Churchill presented data on eight attacks in the past five years, including five in the metro area and another in Colorado Springs. Two others occurred in Holly and Copper Mountain. The DOW didn’t include a recent attack on a teenager in Greenwood Village because the case didn’t come to the agency’s attention until three weeks after the incident and the trail “went cold,” Churchill said.

DOW isn’t denying the attack occurred, but wasn’t able to investigate it.

Of the eight documented cases, coyotes bit humans in seven of them. In another cases, a coyote “nipped” at children snowboarding at Copper Mountain last February. Ski area employees had reportedly been feeding the animal.

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