Sure, we’ve seen our fair share of creatures around the city from dolphins spotted in the East River to Snowy Owls in Central Park, but apparently there’s now a small coyote population actually living & breeding here in NYC, shares a report from PeerJ.
According to the journal, coyotes have been spotted wandering areas of NYC as early as 1994, with proof of breeding groups first established in 2016. NYC wasn’t originally home to coyotes, as most of the species came from the Great Plains and Southwest, shares NYC Wildlife.
Carol Henger, an urban ecologist at Fordham University, estimates a total of 20-30 coyotes are now residing in the city, reports the New York Times. “Many of the coyotes currently living in the city can actually be traced back to the original group that first arrived in the Bronx, so they truly are multi-generational New Yorkers,” reports NYC Wildlife.
The curious creatures can roam as much as 10 miles of open space per day—picture the route from Wall Street to the top of Central Park, explains NYC wildlife.
So where are they living in NYC you might ask? Well according to Urban Coyote Research, urban coyotes like to keep their distance from humans, choosing habitats in parks or wooded patches.
Specifically in NYC, Dr. Henger and Gotham Coyote Project, an organization of researchers, educators and students studying the coyote population in NYC, discovered coyote feces mainly around green spaces in the Bronx and areas throughout Queens over a 10-year span, shares the New York Times. In recent years, NYC has also seen coyotes meandering in Central Park. So no, you won’t be catching one roaming down Fifth Avenue; we are merely coexisiting, said Dr. Henger.
As for diet, PeerJ’s report showed that “Urban Coyotes had a more species-rich diet than the non-urban coyotes.” From plants to rabbits, human scraps to rodents, urban coyotes actually have quite a diverse palette. And though only a limited amount of rats were traced in urban coyote feces according to Dr. Henger, at least something’s out there dealing with them until the city hires a rat czar!
For coexisting with coyotes, NYC Wildlife advises you:
- Do not feed coyotes.
- Observe and appreciate coyotes from a distance.
- Store all food, and garbage in animal-proof containers.
- Protect your pets by leashing your dogs and keeping your cats inside.
- Keep coyotes wary.
You can read more about the report here.