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Belvedere orders study on coyote hideouts and activity

Belvedere will work with wildlife experts to identify coyote shelter and denning sites throughout the city as part of its developing management plan, which includes removing attractants, a checklist for residents and soon a reporting hotline and citizen response team.

However, officials say more extreme options increasingly pushed by some residents — including federal sharpshooters — are likely impractical and should be considered a last resort.

“We heard our community loud and clear that this is an urgent issue,” City Councilmember Jane Cooper said last week. “Lethal removal would not be a quick response.”

Cooper, a member of the council’s coyote subcommittee with colleague Peter Mark, offered her comments during their progress report at the council’s March 13 meeting.

First, wildlife experts say, it doesn’t work: Killing coyotes disrupts their social structures and stimulates breeding and migration. But Mark said the city’s further been advised that shooting or trapping coyotes to euthanize or relocate could be subject to a California Environmental Quality Act review — and, possibly, trigger the need for an environmental-impact report — while inviting opposition and litigation from animal-rights activists, other government agencies and nongovernmental organizations.

Instead, he and Cooper are continuing work on plans recommended by wildlife experts, which emphasize proactive education and co-existence.

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