Coyote spotted roaming Fort Tryon Park

Here’s another sign of spring*: a coyote strolling through a Manhattan park!

Travis Aikman and Robert Randall saw a magnificent Canis latrans with a wavy stripe on his coat in Fort Tryon Park on Monday night. They had seen a coyote last May and June, but had never been able to film it. “They move so fast and are so well hidden,” Randall said.

In December, Inwood resident Tommy Helgy spotted what looked like a coyote in Inwood Hill Park. According to Patch, “The coyote was eating garbage with an opossum like [Helgy] and his girlfriend watched him.”

No possums were spotted with the Fort Tryon Park coyote this week.

the Project Gotham Coyote — where you can report coyote sightings — explains that the animals are in town “because they are remarkable in their ability to make a living (find food, shelter, and water) in cities while simultaneously avoiding the ubiquitous humans who dominate the landscape. Coyotes have not been “hunted” from better, more pristine habitat. Coyotes are here because they can successfully survive and breed in our urban landscapes.”

There are breeding populations of coyotes in the Bronx. In recent years, more and more coyotes – which can travel up to 10 miles a day – have been seen in other parts of the city, such as the Upper West Side, Harlem and Long Island City.

“Over the past few decades, coyotes have expanded their natural range in response to abundant food and open habitat. Coyotes live within city limits, we know coyotes live in the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan,” Anessa Hodgson, a New York City Parks Department spokeswoman, told Gothamist.

She continued: “Seeing a coyote for the first time can be an exhilarating or alarming experience. Most coyotes are not dangerous and actively try to avoid people. By following simple coexistence guidelines – such as observing them from a distance – you can keep yourself, your family, your pets and even the coyotes safe.”

Here’s the Parks Department’s advice on “Coexisting with Coyotes in New York City”:

  • Do not feed coyotes. Keeping coyotes wild is the key to coexistence. Feeding coyotes can cause them to lose their natural hunting instincts and cause coyotes to associate humans with food.
  • Observe and enjoy coyotes from a certain distance. Although they look like dogs, coyotes are wild animals. The best way to keep both you and the coyote safe is to keep your distance.
  • Store all food and garbage in animal-proof containers. Coyotes are very resourceful and will find ways to access unsecured trash cans and pet food containers.
  • Protect your pets. Walk dogs on a leash and keep cats indoors for added safety.
  • Keep coyotes mistrustful. If approached, expand by raising your arms and making loud noises until the coyote retreats. Appreciate the coyotes from a distance.

There seems to be at least one coyote that calls Central Park home:

*The coyote mating season is from January to March, and the The Department of Parks says they can be seen or heard more at this time. Also, after the breeding season in the spring, the young coyotes will leave their pack between October and January.

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