BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – The Broomfield Open Spaces office has launched a program to teach children how to be safe if they see a coyote after a series of attacks this summer.
Coyotes bit three children in two months in the Anthem neighborhood late this summer.
The education program is aimed specifically at pre-schoolers because children that small are especially vulnerable to attacks.
“People and children look at coyotes and kids will say, ‘This is a dog.’ Well, this is a wild animal,” said Karen Steele with the Broomfield Nature Program. “We need to learn how to coexist with them but we need to scare them away, so they’re safe and we’re safe.”
Part of the problem is the coyotes are becoming more comfortable around humans.
The program teaches children that it is important to stay close to their parents but also to use a system called SMART if they do come face to face with coyote.
That means the children should stop when they see a coyote, make themselves big and get the animal’s attention. The acronymn follows these letters:
S – Stop when they see a coyote
M – Make themselves big
A – Get the animal’s attention
R – Retreat
T – Tell an adult
“They’ll get their attention by saying ‘Leave me alone. Go away.’ Make sure the coyote knows they’re human and that also lets other humans know there’s a problem,” said Chris Petrizzo with the Broomfield Wildlife Masters. “R is for Retreat. So we teach them to back up a little bit. Get away. Don’t run away. Don’t turn your back. And the T is for tell. Tell an adult what happened.”
The program also educates parents about keeping children close to them, especially in open spaces. It is also important to make sure not to leave food behind, which might make the animals feel welcome when they really should be feeling uncomfortable.
RELATED LINK: Broomfield Coyote Information