Over the weekend, a popular bird-watching account on Twitter shared a post by photographer Deborah Allen of a coyote spotted in Central Park on Sunday, March 24.
The coyote was seen on Vista Rock below Belvedere Castle (which is currently still closed for renovations), but the rare sighting seems to be more common than you’d think. In recent years, coyotes haven been seen in Central Park in addition to places like Battery Park City, and most commonly in parts of Queens and the Bronx. Earlier this month, West Side Rag also reported a coyote sighting, but that one was in Riverside Park. Could it have been the same one spotted in Central Park?
According to Wildlife NYC, “[Eastern coyotes] can explore as much as 10 miles of open space in a single day—that’s roughly the distance from Wall Street to the top of Central Park. And despite being skilled hunters, they can alter their diet to include whatever is available in their current environment. In a place like New York, that means discarded pet food and trash are on the menu. So if you cross paths with a coyote in New York City, respect them the same way you would any other New Yorker, and give them plenty of space.“
The same idea was echoed by the Director of Media Relations for NYC Parks, Meghan Lalor, in a recent interview with Gothamist where she explains how while the sighting is rare, it’s not of surprise. She goes on to share with them that “This is also the time of year that we typically see them—pups are born around March/April, and then in a year or so when they become young adults, they begin to disperse from their families. It’s funny, they’re kind of like your average teenager that way.”
The NYC Parks website urges people to not panic if they see a coyote, emphasizing that most coyotes are not dangerous to people. However, you should certainly report any sightings through Wildlife NYC here, and any physical contact with one should be called into 911.
If you’re nervous about crossing paths with one of these canines during your next trip to the park, here are their five tips for coexisting with coyotes:
- Do Not Feed Coyotes. Keeping coyotes wild is the key to coexistence. Their life and your safety depend upon coyotes remaining naturally wary of people.
- Remove Attractants. Store food, pet food, and garbage in animal proof containers. Do not leave food or garbage behind in a park.
- Supervise Pets. Walk dogs on a leash and keep cats inside for safety.
- Keep Coyotes Wary. If you are approached, act big and make loud noises until the coyote retreats.
- Appreciate Coyotes. From a distance. Stay at least 150 feet (45 meters) or more from the animal.
featured image source: Twitter / @DAllenNYC
Also published on Medium.