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Critters in Eden, Critters on the Prairie

Friday, February 03, 2006
Critters in Eden, Critters on the Prairie

Webmaster’s note: Coyotes are regularly spotted and sometimes heard in north central Eden Prairie just as they are in other parts of town. Eden Prairie Police Chief Dan Carlson posted the following comment on local coyotes on his weblog which can be visited, along with the weblogs of Fire Chief George Esbensen and City Manager Scott Neal at http://edenprairieweblogs.org/

One of the mixed blessings about Eden Prairie is the abundance of "green space". The parks, the Minnesota River bottoms, the Bluffs, Purgatory Creek, Anderson Lakes, these areas and the dozens like them are a major draw for people to live and work and recreate in Eden Prairie. But they are also a draw for wildlife as habitat.

Balance is always a factor when dealing with public safety issues. When dealing with urban / suburban wildlife issues finding that balance is not always simple nor clear. I believe the City has found appropriate balance in how we manage deer and geese in town. That balance is based on the public safety issues of these two wildlife populations that is quite tangible. For instance statistics on vehicle / deer crashes are an accurate way to measure personal injury and property damage issues in correlation to deer populations.

There has been lively discussion about the presence of cougars in the area, brought to light again recently with the capture of an escaped domestic cougar in Willmar.

But the critter topic of the day is coyotes. A local news station aired an erroneous report that there has been a "coyote warning" issued in the city.....NOT TRUE. We have had inquiries about coyotes in town. Questions of if they are dangerous, that their howling can be disruptive to sleep, are they in Eden Prairie?

We do have coyotes in EP, we always have. They do make noise that can start dogs barking and that can be annoying. We have had many reports of sightings, had them hit by cars, but to the best of my knowledge there have been no reports of attacks on people or pets in the 24 years I've been here. But we do gets calls from people who say they are fearful when they see them and concerned for their safety.

So here's the balance we try and strike. We have no information that the coyote population in EP is of public safety concern (as we do with deer and geese) that justifies us developing a management plan for the entire population. However, as always, should there be a specific incident, a specific coyote that is causing concerns and problems (ie: sick or injured or trapped, etc) we definitely will get involved to try and resolve the issue.

Education is a key to understanding and co-existing with our wildlife population. We have an excellent Animal Control Unit that is always more than happy to address any wildlife issues (as well as domestic animal issues) or questions you may have.

Posted by Dan Carlson at 10:37 AM | PermaLink
Note: The City of EP has recently converted to the Word Press weblog platform

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