During the height of the pandemic, people in cities around the world noticed that a whole lot of animals started roaming around as soon as the humans left. Now, with crowds returning back to normal, animals and humans need to find a new way to coexist. Take, for example, this coyote that stalked a toddler in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
@thescrappynaturalist Ever see a coyote stalk a toddler in broad daylight? This is why coexistence science is important. #carnivore #wildlife #science #coyote #park #toddler #FYP #trending #coexist #animals #movement #scrappynaturalist @natgeo #nature #naturalhistory #urban #urbanwildlife #learn #scientist #greenscree ♬ Aesthetic – Gaspar
The video of the coyote is originally from 2021. Christine E. Wilkinson, who goes by The Scrappy Naturalist on TikTok, is a conservation biologist and carnivore ecologist working as a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley, and resurfaced the footage. In the video, she explains how cities like San Francisco are trying to move away from lethal solutions because they often prove not to work. In fact, sometimes the animals come back in greater numbers.
In a subsequent video, Wilkinson further explained what was going on, why more research is needed, and what people can do to help animals and humans coexist.
@thescrappynaturalist This coyote’s boldness was unusual. Let’s dive further into the science & what we can do to live well wirh coyotes. #coyote #wildlife #urban #animals #FYP #trending #coexist #science #carnivore #scrappynaturalist @natgeo #learn #toddler #bold #animalbehaviour #urbanwildlife #canid #greenscreen ♬ Aesthetic – Gaspar
She notes that this isn’t normal coyote behavior and likely stemmed from someone illegally hand-feeding the animal for years. According to a Los Angeles Times story from 2021, this particular male coyote was killed after “aggressively approaching” children on five different occasions.
“Carnivores are not going anywhere,” Wilkinson says in the video. “They’re important for the ecology, they can take care of our rodent pests, etc., which is why for long term coexistence with them, we need to understand what works and what social and ecological context and in combination with what other tools.”
In the meantime, here are some things you can do to live with coyotes today:
- Yelling at coyotes, making loud noises and getting big, or shaking a can of coins can scare off any coyotes that get close, and early evidence suggests it could work in the long term. This is called hazing.
- Make sure that things like cat food, trash, and compost aren’t easily accessible to the animals.
- Put chickens and small pets in fully enclosed spaces that can’t be dug under.
- Keep an eye on kids and pets when you know that coyotes are exhibiting bolder habits in that area.
- Most importantly, never feed wild carnivores. This trains them to approach humans.