In response to reports from local residents, and following an evaluation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, the City of Kirkland authorized the lethal removal of a local coyote whose behavior posed a threat to human safety.
On Friday, May 13, USDA's Wildlife Services staff verified the elimination of a large, gray coyote with a white tip on its tail that had been sighted and reported by multiple residents in daylight hours, taking pets from yards, and displaying an unusual fearlessness toward people over the past two months. Wildlife Services will monitor coyote behavior in the area for a time and will remain in communication with the City.
"We listened to the concerns of our residents and we took action after reviewing the current coyote situation with federal experts and understanding the available options," said City Manager Kurt Triplett.
City staff requested USDA's involvement and its Wildlife Services staff immediately began working to identify the animal and monitor its behavior. Wildlife Services attempts to do everything it can to assist jurisdictions and residents in finding non-lethal resolutions to wildlife conflicts. According to Wildlife Services, in this instance, the animal had become too familiar with humans, unafraid, confronting people walking dogs, jumping or digging under fences, killing or attacking pets day and night in open spaces and in yards.
"Once Wildlife Services confirmed that this coyote had habituated to humans and had become a threat to public safety, the City took the very difficult, yet decisive step to authorize lethal intervention in order to protect the wellbeing of our residents," explained Triplett.
With over 550 acres of park lands, Kirkland is home to many types of wildlife (deer, coyotes, cougars, raccoon and black bears, to name a few). Residents should remain aware of their surroundings and follow simple guidelines to avoid or reduce confrontations with wildlife:
- Don't feed wildlife either intentionally or unintentionally
- Keep pet food indoors and away from pet doors
- Keep garbage cans secure and barbecue areas clean
- Keep dogs on a leash
- Keep pets indoors, especially at night
- Don’t feed feral cats (on which coyotes prey)
In order to limit the local concentration of rodents (on which coyotes also prey), protect compost piles and don’t feed the birds
“The challenge of living with wildlife in urban area is that it takes consistent action on the part of the whole community to discourage aggressive wildlife,” said Triplett. “If one neighbor takes steps to avoid coyotes, but then another intentionally or unintentionally feeds them, efforts to minimize coyote confrontations won't work.”
To help untangle the facts from myths about coyotes, and to understand the differences between true threats and coexistence, the City will, in conjunction with USDA-Wildlife Services and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, convene a workshop with residents to focus on living with wildlife in urban settings. For more information about coyotes, go to wdfw.wa.gov/living/coyotes.