Coyote sightings reported near parks and greenways in Wake Forest

Hal the coyote in cage after being captured in Central Park, New York (AP)

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) – The Town of Wake Forest is warning residents to be alert when going to local parks and greenways in the wake of recent coyote sightings.

Town officials say they have received a number of reports of coyote sightings near the park in recent days.

The coyotes have mainly been spotted near the E. Carroll Joyner Park area.

Wake Forest resident, Alli Soule said she’s had several encounters with coyotes, so she does what she can to keep herself and her dog safe.

“We got online and did some research and realized that the biggest threat they pose is to smaller animals and pets when it comes to everyday people, so we’ve just been cautious about taking my dog out at night and keeping him leashed,” Soule  said.

Wildlife officials said coyote sightings are typical this time of year.

“They are raising their young, so they are out there trying to make a living just like you and I are,” said NC Wildlife officer, Capt. Matthew Long.  “They are out there looking for things to eat. They mostly prey on rodents, reptiles, small birds; they eat garbage and pet food that’s left in people’s yards. And they will prey on small domesticated animals.”

Experts say early summer is often when there are more coyote sightings because of increased daytime activity, but coyotes usually pose no threat to people or pets.

To prevent conflicts with coyotes the N.C. Wildlife Commission offers the following tips:

  • Secure garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids and take them out on the morning of pick up, not the night before. Coyotes and other wildlife will scavenge trash.
  • Don’t feed or try to pet coyotes. Feeding a coyote rewards it for coming in close proximity to people. Once a coyote be­comes habituated, it loses its natural wariness of people and may become bold and aggressive.
  • Protect your pets by keeping them inside, leashed or inside a fenced area.
  • Install coyote-proof fencing around your home to protect unsupervised pets.
  • Feed pets indoors or remove food when your pet is finished eating outside. Coyotes and other wildlife are attracted to pet food left outdoors.
  • Keep bird-feeder areas clean. Use bird feeders that keep seed off the ground. Coyotes are attracted to small animals congregating on the ground. If coyotes are frequently seen, remove all feeders.
  • Close off crawl spaces under sheds and porches. Coyotes and other wildlife may use these spaces for resting and raising young.
  • Cut back brushy edges in your yard, which provide cover for coyotes.
  • Don’t be intimidated by a coyote. Maintain its wariness by throwing a small object (such as a tennis ball) at it, making a loud noise or spraying it with a hose. Let it know it is unwelcome near your home.
  • Clear fallen fruit from around fruit trees.
  • Educate your neighbors. Your efforts to prevent coyote conflicts will be less effective if some neighbors are still providing food.

Wake Forest officials say most of the town’s parks and greenways are located in natural areas. Because of that, those who frequent the town’s parks and greenways may encounter various species of wildlife in their natural habitat, including coyotes.

Officials are also reminding residents that it is against Town code to hunt and trap on town property and discharge a firearm in Wake Forest town limits.

Residents are urged to call the Wake Forest Police Department at 919-554-6150 or Wake County Animal Control at 919-212-7387 if they are experiencing damage caused by, or unusual behavior on the part of a coyote or any other wild animal.

Attacks may be rare, but the coyote population is actually growing and thriving in urban areas. You should report any aggressive behavior to the police or animal control. For more information, click here

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