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Residents sound off, urge action at Belvedere coyote forum

A standing-room-only crowd packed Belvedere City Hall on Feb. 16 for a special City Council forum on coyote behavior and management. Experts talked on the subject before residents weighed in with their concerns about aggressive animals. (Elliot Karlan / For The Ark)

Belvedere has vowed to act swiftly to develop a more comprehensive plan to manage aggressive coyotes after hearing from nearly three dozen residents at a Feb. 16 community forum, many of whom said they’re fed up with feeling threatened and some even advocated for shooting particularly aggressive coyotes.

Residents packed City Hall — and nearly 100 more watched online — to hear from wildlife experts from Marin Humane, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, nonprofit Project Coyote and the University of California Cooperative Extension.

After hearing requests for action, the City Council directed staff to pursue a plan that includes reaching out to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services to see how they might help deal with aggressive coyotes; creating a draft wildlife-management plan; and investigating programs that work to eliminate unintentional coyote food sources. The city will also gather information from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on the types of traps available and rules for dispatching animals, and it will work on removing any dead brush that could serve as habitat and pose a fire threat.

Councilmember Sally Wilkinson called the issue a complicated one.

“We’ve been hearing from residents, and we have taken those first steps … late last year to really try to educate around hazing,” she said. “Maybe we have not done enough on that front, but it really feels like it hasn’t been working and, in my mind, this is a public-safety threat that we face.”

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