Coyote

COYOTE

Coyote sightings and encounters are on the rise in Long Beach as winter approaches, and the Animal Care Services Bureau has some tips on handling the wild animals.

Staycee Dains, bureau manager, said in a release that coyotes do not require open space to survive and have successfully adapted to living in urban and suburban neighborhoods. Coyotes can be seen at any time of day, although they are most active at dusk, dawn and at night.

In 2015, after months of meetings and discussion at the City Council, a coyote management plan was approved. That plan emphasizes public education and promises a tiered approach to coyote response, including trapping and "lethal removal" when necessary.

But that response requires multiple aggressive encounters with coyotes. The policy pushes prevention, including a ban on outdoor feeding and securing small animals. I behavior called hazing is recommended for direct encounters.

Hazing includes: 

• Standing tall, yelling and waving arms

• Using a whistle, air horn, bell or other noisemaking device

• Banging pots or pans together

• Stomping your feet

• Flashing bright lights at the coyote

• Spraying the coyote with a water hose or pepper spray

• Throwing tennis balls or sticks toward the coyote.

The bureau recommends keeping small dogs and cats indoors, or attended when they are outside. Coyotes also are attracted by fruit on the ground or accessible trash, so clean yards are recommended.

Reports about coyote activity and encounters should be made to Long Beach Animal Care Services. To report coyote sightings and encounters online, go to www.longbeach.gov/acs/wildlife.

 An Animal Control officer will respond to coyote calls if the coyote is sick or injured, out in the daytime in areas around people, especially children at parks or schools or anytime there is an attack or threatening behavior toward a person or pet. If a coyote is posing an imminent threat to life, call 9-1-1.

Finally, never run from a coyote. That will trigger the coyote's instinct to chase — and coyotes run faster than people do.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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