Coyote Watch — Get Involved

December 1, 2016

small-eastern-coyote-emdotMilwaukee County Parks and the Wisconsin DNR want you to help them collect information about coyote sightings to monitor the animals’ activity and behavior.

Additionally, Milwaukee County Parks wants you to help them inform others about the project. If you are a part of a neighborhood association, a member of one of the online Next Door Communities, or receive neighborhood updates through email or newsletters, they ask that you reach out to your neighbors and ask them to report coyote sightings in your neighborhoods and local parks.

The county is collaborating with the website iNaturalist.org to collect sightings data. If you see a coyote, report the observation to the Milwaukee County Coyote Watch project page: goo.gl/2kzCe2

Background

Coyote sightings in and near Milwaukee County neighborhoods are fairly common and are rarely a cause for concern, according to iNaturalist.org.

The animals are naturally very skittish and wary creatures that will avoid human contact by either running away, when encountered, or by restricting their activities to nocturnal hours. In some circumstances however, often in urban and suburban environments, coyotes may become habituated, losing their innate fear of humans.

Coyote stretching.            PHOTO courtesy Eric Kilby

Coyote stretching. PHOTO courtesy Eric Kilby

Habituation may result from food attractants in backyards, such as pet food, unsecured garbage, fallen fruit, etc., or repeated exposure to humans without negative consequences.

Behavior that may indicate a coyote has become habituated is if it is seen languishing in a park during the daytime in close proximity to humans, following humans and their pets, or not running away upon encountering people.

These bold behaviors associated with habituation are what can ultimately lead to human-coyote conflicts in urban areas. In order to proactively manage coyote behavior for a safe, sustainable, and long-term coexistence with these wild urban neighbors, it is of the utmost importance that county residents understand how human behavior and actions can influence them. The goal is to keep them wild and unhabituated to people.

Be Smart

Do not feed coyotes directly, or indirectly by leaving pet food, fallen fruit, fallen bird seed, etc. in your yard.

Reinforce the fear of humans when encountering a bold or habituated coyote. Chase and yell at the coyote and throw projectiles near the animal. If it is in your backyard, turn the hose on it.

For more information on proper hazing techniques provided by the Wisconsin Humane Society,
goo.gl/Qj7kjP or Milwaukee County, goo.gl/TQJS3b and http://county.milwaukee.gov/Coyotes9205.htm.

When walking your dog, keep it on a leash. If you see a coyote, use hazing techniques to scare it away.

If you have questions about the project or coyotes, contact Dianne Robinson, dianne.robinson@wisconsin.gov or Julia Robson: julia.robson@milwaukeecountywi.gov.

Coyote information above provided by iNaturalist.org

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