Sep 16, 2010 6:43 PM by Shawn Kline

Airport gets Coyote Blues

A night-time nuisance at the Acadiana Regional Airport has pilots howling for help.
Officials now say they're willing to take all means necessary to keep problem pests off the runway.
In the middle of the night, they come from the sugar cane fields.
"At night time, we've reports within the last six to eight weeks," Jason Devillier said.
They're a wiley nuisance- scavenging Acadiana Regional Airport's runway for food.
Devillier is the airport's manager. He says coyotes are getting on the tarmack and forcing the airport to take extra measures.
"We've captured about six or eight." Devillier says, "some of the coyotes get away with the trap attached to them."
Airport officials say the coyotes will come from the sugar cane fields and burrow their way under the fence. Then, later at night, pilots will find the coyotes in the middle of the runway.
"A pilot had a report as he was taxiing in," Devillier said. "He saw a coyote crossing the taxi way."
So why are coyotes such a problem around the airport? Wildlife officials say it all has to do with location- sugar cane, a popular hide-out for the coyote surrounds the airport.
However, the airport can't move, so they're left with only a few options:
They can set-up traps, which the airport is already placing throughout the perimeter.
They can fix the fences- they've already placed barbed wire along any canal area which go underneath the fence. However, the coyotes simply find another spot and burrow their way through.
Lastly, airport officials are aiming to get a licence to kill but that's the last thing they want to do if trapping doesn't work.
"We're constantly checking out fence line to be proactive," Devillier said. "(We're doing) everything we can to keep them from coming out to the airport."
So far, no damages have been dealt to aircraft associated with coyotes.
An FAA biologist is currently studying the situation- one of the possibilities- the coyotes could attract birds.
You may remember, a bird strike was one of the causes of engine failure in the emergency landing of US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River in New York City.
Airport officials also worry about the possibility of a plane hitting a coyote- Devillier says if that were to happen, it would not only kill the coyote but it could cause serious damage to the airplane- which can always result in more serious and life-threatening injuries.


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