Greenwood Village, Colorado has become a hot zone for human-coyote conflicts in recent months with city officials taking a decidedly lethal approach toward coyote management. To date police and a sharpshooter hired by Greenwood Village have killed at least six coyotes this year, when the city council authorized lethal coyote control. At least 2 of the 6 shot coyotes ran off after being shot and wounded. The controversy has pitted wildlife advocates against those who want coyotes removed and highlights the divisiveness the presence of this native carnivore has brought to communities nationwide.

“Coyote in Greenwood Village” by Jay Tuchton

What makes this situation unique is that the adjacent town of Centennial has chosen a very different approach to coyote-human coexistence. Centennial has enacted a coyote management policy that places emphasis on public education and outreach, reduction in coyote attractants, and hazing of habituated coyotes where deemed necessary. Lethal control is a last resort. The city of Denver has adopted a similar proactive management plan that emphasizes tolerance and the role people play in mitigating negative encounters with coyotes. Denver also has one of the most proactive hazing programs in the country. Representatives and volunteers from Colorado-based WildEarth Guardians have taken it upon themselves to conduct hazing in Greenwood Village in an effort to reduce negative coyote-human encounters and to keep coyotes from being needlessly destroyed. Despite these efforts, city officials continue to authorize lethal control and have refused to work with wildlife advocates and coyote experts who have offered assistance.

The controversy has brought coyote-human interaction to a head in Colorado and raises fundamental questions about coyote management at the local and state level. In a recent meeting with the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW), Dr. Marc Bekoff, who has studied coyotes for nearly four decades, and is also on the advisory board of Project Coyote, joined representatives from WildEarth Guardians and HSUS to discuss coyote management issues in Colorado. Dr. Bekoff emphasized the lack of detailed information about the social behavior and population dynamics of coyotes on the front range of Colorado, and that these data are essential for understanding coyote ecology and behavior to reduce negative encounters. While the CDOW does not control municipal approaches to coyote management, they have oversight over the species at a state level and heavily influence public perception and local management.

Greenwood Village has an opportunity to follow the lead of neighboring cities and implement a proactive, long-term approach to coyote management that emphasizes public awareness, tolerance, and the role humans play in reducing (and creating) negative encounters with coyotes and other urban wildlife.

Letters are needed to Greenwood Village Mayor Nancy Sharpe urging her to adopt an ecologically and ethically sound management plan that is based on sound science and humane protocols (sample letter below).

Address letters to:
Mayor Nancy Sharpe
City of Greenwood Village
6060 South Quebec Street
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111-4591

You can also contact Mayor Nancy Sharpe via email (nsharpe@greenwoodvillage.com) or call her at 303-486-5741 and make the same points.

Please also cc your letter to:
Harris Sherman, Executive Director
Colorado Department of Natural Resources
1313 Sherman St., Rm. 718
Denver, CO 80203

(This sample is meant to be used as a guide; it is very important to use your own words so that your message stands out and has a greater impact)

Mayor Nancy Sharpe
Greenwood Village
6060 South Quebec Street
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111-4591

Dear Ms. Sharpe:
I am writing to ask you to immediately stop the coyote killing program underway in the Greenwood Village. Lethally removing coyotes in an effort to reduce their populations is an ineffective, ecologically unsound, and ethically indefensible approach to mitigate real or perceived human/pet-coyote conflicts. Conflicts can be resolved in a humane and effective manner without resorting to indiscriminate killing- as shown by both Centennial and the city of Denver.

Greenwood Village has an opportunity to follow the lead of neighboring cities and implement a proactive, long-term approach to coyote management that emphasizes public awareness, tolerance, and the role of human behaviors in mitigating negative encounters with coyotes. Such programs also recognize the important ecological role of coyotes in maintaining ecosystem health and species diversity.

I urge you to cease the killing of coyotes and instead work with wildlife organizations to implement a proactive, humane program that prioritizes coexisting with, rather than destroying, Greenwood Village’s coyotes.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your response.

(Your Name)
Street Address
City, State, & Zip
cc: Mr. Harris Sherman, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources

Letters to the Editor to the Denver Post Needed!
The Denver Post reported on the recent coyote killings in the May 18th edition (see www.denverpost.com/commented/ci_11751106). Please take a moment to write a letter to the editor in response to this article (300 words max). Letters can be emailed to openforum@denverpost.com, and should include your name, city and a daytime phone number (your phone number will not be published). For tips on writing letters to the editor visit our GUIDELINES FOR WRITING LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.

Thank you for acting on behalf of Coyotes!
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.ProjectCoyote.org & www.letlimpylive.org

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