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Coyotes are being spotted more than ever in LA

By
Brittany Martin
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Coyotes have been hanging around the Los Angeles area since before there even was a Los Angeles, so co-existing with them has long been accepted as a reality of SoCal life. Unfortunately, as urban areas grow ever denser and natural coyote habitats become more scarce, there has been an increase in coyote sightings close to residential and commercial areas. Add to that an unending drought which leaves thirsty coyotes prowling closer to homes to find water, and you have a recipe for a lot of concern from home and pet owners, animal activists and others.

Over time, the coyote population has adapted to the human environment, with urban life now a multi-generational reality for coyote families who have never lived anywhere else. They have become accustomed to feeding off garbage and small pets to survive. 

Niamh Quinn, a biologist and coyote expert with the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources recently told the Daily Breeze, “Cities should be proactive rather than reactive. It’s not the ideal situation. Ideally, [all] cities should have the foresight to have coyote management plans.”

With the sightings seeming to escalate during this springtime’s pup-rearing season, particularly in areas like San Pedro, SCPR reports that LA City Council member Joe Buscaino called on the city’s Department of Animal Services to study the issue and see if any updates need to be made to how coyotes are managed in urban areas. That report was presented to the council’s Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee this morning. 

There are an estimated 750,000 coyotes across California. Until 1994, LA’s management policy was to trap and shoot the animals—a solution which studies found to be ineffective and expensive, in addition to upsetting many in the public. The report recommends against reinstating that plan in favor of more public education programs to help city-dwellers live peacefully with the local wildlife. State policy also forbids removing a coyote from its home turf, so for now, at least, the canines are here to stay.

Here is an example of one LA County city's coyote sightings since the beginning of the year. 

Photograph: Courtesy City of Torrance

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