Running or biking along Boulder Creek has always been a bit of a danger zone during peak hours of the day, what with all the people eager to soak up the nature and work up a sweat. Recently, though, it is not just the fast spinning cyclists one may have to dodge. These days, coyotes have decided to take their morning stroll, and they do not dodge politely when you get too close.
Imagine being on a bike and pumping as hard as your legs can go not because you are trying to beat a personal time record, but because there is a coyote biting at your toes as he runs you down. Perhaps you are a runner focusing on the path ahead when, from behind, a coyote assaults you, going as far as biting your calf because he registers your running as a flight response, not as exercise.
These two incidents are not fictional worst-case scenarios due to the increase in coyotes near and on Boulder Creek path. No, these incidents are real and an unfortunate reality all lovers of Boulder Creek might have to face.
So far, the coyote encounters have taken place between 30th street east to 55th street, and according to a Daily Camera article, “the city recorded seven encounters between people and coyotes in [this] target area between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2.”
Fear of humans seemingly skipped this generation of coyotes, and it is now up to humans to reinstate that lost fear. The city of Boulder is utilizing open space rangers, animal control officers, as well as training willing volunteers on how to patrol for and scare off these aggressive coyotes. Strategies used to accomplish this feat are described in the above article and include “yelling or shaking cans with batteries or pennies in them or lunging toward them or throwing a tennis ball.”
“They’re engaging the coyote,” Val Matheson, Boulder’s urban wildlife conservation coordinator says, “They’re basically being big and scary.”
The proactive approach being implemented by Boulder does not demand or even encourage a lethal response, and personally, I feel good about this. As Val Matheson stated, coyotes need re-training, as do people. The coyote must learn that people are not his prey, and humankind must learn not to act like it. Coexistence, especially in a city that backs up into the wild parts of the Flatirons, is the best solution because Boulder is a city not only shared by many different people, but by diverse wildlife, as well.
We all should hope that the coyotes are fast learners and the people are fit teachers so attacks cease. If not, Boulder will have no choice but to lethally rid the creek path of the predators so that families, students, and individuals, alike, feel comfortable taking that early afternoon stroll again without fear of the wild jumping out to bite.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kitty Winograd at Kitty.email@example.com.