ELKHART – Officials at a northern Indiana airport have turned to shooting coyotes that wander onto the property because of worries about the animals posing a safety hazard.
The move comes after workers used live traps for two years without catching any of the coyotes.
Doing nothing to curtail their presence would be a recipe for disaster, Andy Jones, Elkhart Municipal Airport manager, said.
At least two landings have had to be aborted in recent years because of coyotes near or on the runway and one plane taking off missed a coyote by about 20 feet, Jones told The Elkhart Truth.
Under the current policy, when a coyote is spotted, airport workers contact police officers, who then attempt to shoot the animal.
Three coyotes have been killed this year, and officials believe about five more have been spotted.
The city obtained a nuisance wildlife animal control permit to kill the coyotes, said Phil Bloom, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Airport officials are seeking a federal grant toward an estimated $1 million wildlife hazard fence that would run around the perimeter of the airports 670 acres.
That fence would be 10 feet tall, extend three feet underground and be topped with barbed wire.