Trap and tag: New effort begins to tackle coyote problem in Milwaukee County

WAUWATOSA/WEST ALLIS — A new effort begins Monday, February 1st to deal with a coyote problem in Milwaukee County. Traps will be set to catch the coyotes, but they'll eventually be released.

As part of an ongoing coyote management effort in Milwaukee County, the Milwaukee County Parks-Natural Areas Program will be collaborating with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology’s UW Urban Canid Project to apply uniquely colored ear tags to coyotes within targeted areas.

According to the West Allis Health Department, live trapping and ear tagging will occur along the Underwood Creek Parkway from February through March 31st, 2016. The public is advised to please keep all pets on a leash and remain in designated hiking and/or biking trails when using these areas.

It is against state law to tamper with set traps — the West Allis Health Department says cable restraint traps will not harm the coyotes but they will simply restrain them so staff can ear tag each animal and then release them for further monitoring.

The West Allis Health Department says there is often no way of knowing which individual animal is a “problem” animal, so the wrong animal or animals may be removed which leads to a vacuum that is quickly filled by other coyotes. By identifying individually tagged coyotes, observations and behaviors can be tied to specific animals and allow a proactive response for habituated animals.

This “tag and track” approach will also assist in identifying problem animals where targeted removal might be necessary.

The West Allis Health Department says, if you observe an ear-tagged coyote, please report your observation to the Milwaukee County Coyote Watch page.