Monday, May 4, 2015

Coyote Sightings and Attacks Increasing

There has been an increasing number of media stories about coyotes in New Jersey because of an increasing number of coyote sightings and encounters.

Bergen County residents have actually been attacked by aggressive coyotes several times since last fall and two people have been bitten by coyotes this year. Most recently, officials shot and killed a coyote suspected of attacking a county resident near a wooded area in Norwood. A nearby K-8 school canceled outdoor athletic practices and instituted an indoor recess policy for the remainder of the week after two coyote dens were found near school grounds.

There were also reports of coyotes in Harrington Park and in Ridgewood a coyote was seen lurking around the Willard Elementary School area (though neither was found).

The first sighting of a coyote in New Jersey was in 1939, but official sightings have been irregular in the years since. They are now reported in almost 400 municipalities across all 21 of the state’s counties, with a population estimated at 3,000.

Coyotes are adaptable to humans and generally stick to rodents, rabbits and sometimes small deer for food. They rarely attack humans, but recent incidents include coyotes investigating humans walking dogs and dogs alone in backyards. Increased fear comes from several cases in which the attacking coyote has been found rabid.

On the night of April 30th, a coyote grabbed a Yorkshire terrier in a backyard and retreated to the woods with it in Randolph Township.

New Jersey and New York City residents are reporting an increased coyote presence this spring.

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