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They have been so intensely persecuted by humans that they instinctively know to fear and avoid us; an evasiveness that has served them well and enabled them to survive in rural areas, suburbs, and in large cities. Central Park in New York City has even been home to coyotes.
Coyotes, or Canis latrans, which means ‘barking dog,’ are very alert and wary. They have become very common, though you’d be hard-pressed to find one. Unfortunately, from time to time, people do cross paths with the secretive coyote.
On Wednesday, A 5-year-old boy was bitten by a coyote in Chicago. The boy was outside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, which is in the city’s Lincoln Park, when the animal bit him “multiple times,” including on the head, per police. He was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he was in stable condition.
Shortly before the 4 pm attack, a Twitter user sent this video to the news station showing a coyote limping down the sidewalk near the museum. Authorities were still looking for the coyote as of Wednesday night.
Hours after the attack on the boy, a 32-year-old man was walking in the city’s Gold Coast neighborhood, nearly 3 miles from the museum, when he was also bitten by a coyote. He was treated for a scratch and released. A limping coyote was spotted in the nearby Streeterville neighborhood Thursday morning.
CBS Chicago notes that at least 10 coyote sightings have been reported in Chicago over the past week and that at least two dogs have been attacked by the animals on the city’s streets. One expert points out:
“In general, coyotes are adapting to cities. They’re doing better and better over time as they learn how to make use of these urban landscapes that we’ve created.”
Experts also note that there’s ample food for coyotes in big cities, like rodents and garbage. Anyone who sees a coyote is advised not to turn away or run, but rather to engage in “hazing,” which involves shouting at the animal or throwing something in its direction.
The CACC said in a statement:
“While it is extremely rare for a coyote to approach or bite a person, residents should take caution if they encounter a coyote and notify Chicago Animal Care and Control by calling 311.”
Authorities estimate there are approximately 60 coyotes patrolling Chicago’s streets, and an estimated 4,000 living in Cook County.
No doubt there will be a backlash in Chicago and other major metropolitan areas that host populations of coyotes. People rarely agree to live among our wild creatures for long, but rather eradicate them, and live only among themselves. The fact is there are far more dangerous predators among the human population than among the animal population.
In case you missed it: Coyotes Roam Chicago’s Streets In Search of Rats
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