SAN FRANCISCO—There has been five coyote attacks within a 2-mile radius in the eastern suburb of the San Francisco Bay Area around the cities of Moraga and Lafayette since last summer. The most recent attack transpired on February 19 outside of a Kwik Stop convenience store.
One coyote has bitten adults and kids (children between the ages of two and three). One man indicated he was bitten while doing his regular morning workout on a local high school football field. He noted he was doing a push up when he felt a sharp pain in his left leg. The DNA that was taken from the victims’ bite wound and clothing has linked all five attacks to a single coyote. Additionally, all tests on bite victims have come back negative for rabies.
The police and wildlife officials are working together to capture the coyote. Baited traps have not worked and in December 2020, a wildlife sniper tried to take the animal down and missed. If traps continue to fail, officials say they’ll try the sniper again if they can do so safely in a suburban setting. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and local police are working to euthanize and test the aggressive coyote for rabies.
Hikers are carrying noisemakers and parents with small children are sticking close to home. Wildlife experts and advocates indicated such behavior is unusual for coyotes. It is not uncommon to see coyotes in populated areas, but the animals are typically wary of people. They keep their distance and avoid conflict with humans.
According to officials, California and other states are seeing an increase in wild animal attacks and encounters. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website, coyotes tend to change their behavior when they have access to human food and garbage.
“They lose caution and fear. They may begin to harass domestic livestock and pets. They might threaten human safety,” as stated on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
Officials say that people should be aware of their surroundings when outdoors and do not leave small children or pets unattended outside. Special care should be taken at dusk and dawn when coyotes are known to be more active. Pet food should be brought inside at night, and trash lids should be secured.