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Archive for the ‘Boulder County’ Category

The otter dined on a white sucker, eating in front of the camera for several minutes. CREDIT: City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks

The otter dined on a white sucker, eating in front of the camera for several minutes. CREDIT: City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks

Earlier this month a wildlife camera recorded images of the first confirmed American river otter sighting in Boulder in a century. The otter was filmed along the Boulder Creek, east of the city center. According to Christian Nunes, a wildlife ecology technician for Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, the otter was caught on camera twice: once on February 26th, and again on March 7th.

Shortly after the photos were released, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo released a statement that the critter caught on film was not Kitchi, an American river otter that escaped from the zoo three years ago. Kitchi would have had to travel from Colorado Springs to Boulder, a route that is more or less geographically impossible due to otters’ need to remain along riverbanks for food.

The river otter has recently been de-listed from endangered to threatened along its range in Colorado. Urban expansion and pollution caused otter numbers to decline in the early to mid 1900s. Restoration efforts that began in the late 1970s have helped reestablish otter populations in many of the state’s riparian ecosystems.

Links:

Daily Camera

http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/SpeciesOfConcern/Mammals/Pages/RiverOtter.aspx

Denver Post

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The plan's 2-mile focus area. CREDIT: City of Boulder

The plan’s 2-mile focus area. CREDIT: City of Boulder

After an increase in coyote attacks along Boulder Creek Path in recent months, the city of Boulder has released a coyote management plan, aimed at controlling coyotes on and around a 2-mile section of the path. The plan is includes a 28-day hazing program, which will be evaluated upon completion, after February 15th.

Between December 24th and January 2nd, seven reported incidences of coyote aggression have been filed with the city, including a report made by a jogger who was bitten on the calf by a coyote, and one filed by a cyclist who was chased by a coyote. The incidents have been taking place along the path, primarily between 30th st. and 55th st.

The city has long held the policy of killing any coyote that shows serious aggression, and the new plan does not make an exception to that policy. Hazers will be out on the path daily, looking for coyotes. They will haze any that they find using non-invasive scare tactics, with the goal discouraging coyotes from coming near the path.

Wildlife officials say it is not realistic to expect coyotes to avoid the targeted area altogether, and that an emphasis must also be placed on public awareness. Informing residents about coyotes and what to do in the event of a coyote attack is half the battle. Under state law, coyotes cannot be legally relocated. In the event that a non-aggressive coyote does not want to leave the area, people will have to learn to accept the animal’s presence and learn to conduct themselves appropriately around the coyote.

The plan is a temporary response targeting a specific area, and is not intended to be a city-wide or permanent coyote management plan.

Links:

Daily Camera

Coyote Management Plan: PDF

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One of the Boulder police officers involved in the shooting of a bull elk poses with the dead animal.

One of the Boulder police officers involved in the shooting of a bull elk poses with the dead animal.

The Boulder Police Department has announced that two Boulder police officers are responsible for the death of a bull elk in the Mapleton neighborhood late Tuesday night. The elk had become a common sight in the neighborhood, and is believed to be the same elk that trapped a postal worker on a porch last week. Although the elk had shown defiance towards humans it had not attacked any people or pets.

According to the press release, an on-duty officer shot the elk around 11pm on Tuesday night. An accompanying off-duty officer took the elk home to ‘process the meat’. Neither officer filed incident reports, and both officers also failed to notify their supervisors about the incident. Boulder police are required to file a report any time they discharge a weapon.

Boulder police stated that the officer claimed to have shot the elk because it was injured. The officer is quoted as saying that the elk was limping, and had a broken rack. However, photographs of the dead elk show no signs of a damaged rack. The elk was in a residential yard when the officer shot it.

Residents of the area have reported witnessing the incident. One resident reported hearing a shot, and, later, going outside to see what appeared to be Boulder County Sheriff’s Office deputies loading up the animal.

Boulder Police and Colorado Parks and Wildlife are working together to determine whether criminal charges can be applied to this case. Parks and Wildlife is investigating from a ‘wildlife’ perspective, while Boulder Police has launched an internal investigation. Possible criminal charges could include poaching, discharging a weapon within city limits without cause, hunting within city limits, hunting without a tag, and hunting an elk with a firearm not approved for elk hunting.

Links:

Daily Camera

Daily Camera (with video)

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