NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Coyotes remained on the run Thursday in both the suburbs and city, and residents remained on edge as they were warned of possible danger.
As CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, at least one coyote has been spotted more than once now by CBS2 cameras running around Riverside Drive. Police Thursday night were searching Riverside Park once again for coyotes, following several sightings of what are likely multiple animals.
CBS2 cameras captured the coyote at 4:45 a.m. at Riverside Drive and 96th Street, and then again around 5:38 a.m., CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported. The second time, the coyote sprinted in front of Mobile 2 and scampered across the street toward Grant’s Tomb in Morningside Heights.
The animal kept going right into oncoming traffic.
Ben Bazyluk said he saw the coyote while walking his giant shepherd.
“I’ve seen another coyote, but I don’t think it was the same one as last night,” he said. “That one looked much bigger, and nice and healthy.”
Earlier, Burrell spoke with two people who had encounters of their own with the coyote Thursday morning.
“I was walking my dog this morning, and about 10 feet away a coyote came out from the park right in front of us, and it ran past us very close and it just kept going further down Riverside Park,” one woman said.
“I was driving, going downtown on Riverside Drive, and he crossed right in front of me and I almost hit him. I had to stop,” another man said.
“I was walking and I was like, ‘Oh, there’s a dog,’ and (then) I’m like, ‘That’s not a dog,'” one witness told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane.
On Wednesday evening, CBS2 captured exclusive video of a coyote as it pranced across Riverside Drive near West 79th Street around 11 p.m. It was not certain whether that coyote was the same one seen about 6 1/2 hours later.
Late Thursday afternoon, some young children were at soccer practice at the very same spot where a coyote had earlier led the NYPD on a chase.
Jody Miller was walking through the park with her pit bull, Cassius, in case of danger.
“Sometimes in the morning, people let their dogs off the leash, and this morning, I thought it would be stupid to leave the dog off the leash,” Miller said.
Police first spotted the coyote on Wednesday morning and were on the animal’s trail, but it managed to evade officers. The NYPD had officers spread out across the area with tranquilizer guns in hand after a sighting just after dawn.
It spurred a 40-block chase around Riverside Park from the mid-80s to Grant’s Tomb to West 122nd Street.
Morningside Heights resident Jim Burke walked his dogs right by where the last coyote was spotted Thursday.
“They’re more nocturnal, so they’re not going to be out during the day,” he said. “So I’m not too concerned at this point.”
The coyotes are exhibiting normal behavior and shying away from people, Burrell reported.
In Manhattan, most residents who live near where the animals have been spotted seem unfazed, actually more concerned about the coyote than themselves.
“I hope it doesn’t get hit,” Joseph said.
“I’m not worried. I think (if) there’s a dog on a leash, they’re not going to gobble them up. I think it’s OK,” said Yolanda Shashaty, of Morningside Heights.
John Nesti of Fischer Wildlife Control explained the coyotes’ movement and behavior to CBS2’s Meg Baker.
“The river acts as a natural corridor for the coyotes to move in,” he said. “(The Riverside Park coyote) is probably a year-and-a-half old coyote.”
Nesti believes the coyotes seen roaming city streets are not rabid, but looking for territory. It is the time of year when even young coyotes leave their dens.
“They can run the river and find all the food they need,” Nesti said.
The coyotes follow tracks – rivers, trains, and manmade trails. Nesti explained that is likely why they are showing up in the city.
Patrick Thomas, associate director of the Bronx Zoo, said this is the time of year when young coyotes leave their dens.
“Coyotes are getting ready to pup,” Thomas said. “So young females might be looking for den sites, and you also have with animals that are dispersing from their parents. And so you just have more animals on the move.”
Chris Nagy with the Gotham Coyote Project said his group has also been tracking dens in the Bronx.
For the few who are worried of being attacked, Nagy said the chances are very slim.
“The risk of being attacked by a coyote is somewhere in the realm of the risk of being attacked by a vending machine,” Nagy said.
Police say they are not sure if all of the recent sightings are of the same animal or if multiple coyotes have been roaming.
“It was kind of big,” Bronx grandmother Sylvia Ruiz described. “It was laying down there, moved its head around a little bit.”
Ruiz had an encounter with one of the animals inside her Co-Op City backyard. She snapped a picture of one relaxing underneath a bush and texted it to her daughter, a Co-Op City police officer.
“She said, ‘Oh, it’s a coyote!’ So they sent about four sergeants, and they all came in,” Ruiz said.
Experts say the best advice if you spot a coyote is to raise your arms above your head.
“Make some noise and scare the coyote off,” said Sarah Aucoin, director of urban park rangers for the city’s Parks Department.
Experts also say there is at least one advantage to having the coyotes in the city.
“They eat rats. They eat mice. They eat small mammals,” Aucoin said.
As Kozar reported, experts said further that it is a good thing coyotes are running away from humans – unlike what happened in Norwood, New Jersey. There, a rabid coyote bit a man, and another chewed through the tires on a police cruiser.
Multiple dens of coyotes have been found in Bergen County, and the trend continued Thursday morning.
Police Thursday morning received a call about a coyote sighting on Cathy Court in Norwood, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.
“We followed a blood trail, probably about a half a mile, and we lost it,” Police Chief Jeff Krapels said. “So it’s sick and injured, and we’re just concerned that people may come across a blood puddle.”
Coyote sightings in Norwood are nothing new, but the police chief suspects the coyote population is growing.
“It’s a little bit nerve-racking with two young kids in the elementary school up here,” said Norwood resident Steve Whaley. “So we’re just keeping our eye out.”
There have also been coyote sightings in Summit.
But the coyote isn’t the only wild animal on the loose in the area. Take a look at this tweet:
Wild turkey crossing the road just now in Spuyten Duyvil, the Bronx. No coyotes here! pic.twitter.com/H2kooux0gB
— Stu Loeser (@stuloeser) April 23, 2015