Coyote sightings in the Tri-Valley aren't unusual; the city fielded reports from multiple residents around town last winter, and a local family's pet cat was killed when a coyote jumped in their yard and attacked it five years ago. The canine species has also appeared in other East Bay communities like Danville and Alamo over the years.
Coyotes are naturally fearful of humans but "have learned to live comfortably alongside people in residential neighborhoods," according to Fish and Wildlife officials, who blamed the presence of coyotes in urban areas on people being careless with food and garbage.
Although coyotes rarely pose a threat to humans, wildlife experts said they lose caution and fear when given access to human food and garbage and might harass or threaten the safety of humans, livestock and household pets. They play an important role in the ecosystem by primarily hunting rodents and rabbits for food, but will eat whatever is generally available including garbage, human food and domestic animals.
"Relocating a problem coyote is not an option because it only moves the problem to another neighborhood," according to Fish and Wildlife experts, who recommend people take these steps to discourage coyote encounters in their area:
* Discourage visits from coyotes by making loud noises, chasing them, or throwing rocks or sticks at them; coyotes will become wary of an area if they are hazed enough. If followed by a coyote, make loud noises and throw rocks in their direction. Never attempt to feed or tame coyotes, as doing so could be deadly.
* Keep small pets indoors and only let them outside when attended by their owner. Do not leave small children outside unattended.
* Be sure to secure your garage and put garbage in tightly closed containers that can't be tipped over.
* Take care to eliminate food and water sources in your yard; do not leave pet food outside, pick up fallen fruit, cover compost piles, and remove or avoid using outdoor sources of water including bird feeders.
* Reduce hiding spots by trimming ground-level shrubbery.
* Keep rabbits, poultry and other livestock in secure closures.
* Motion sprinklers and lights can also help deter coyotes from entering your property.
* Coyotes are more active in spring, when feeding and protecting their offspring.
* Encourage neighbors to follow these tips.
If you see wildlife behaving aggressively, call the Department of Fish and Wildlife Bay Delta Region's business office at 707-944-5500 or the 24-hour dispatch center at 916-445-0045.
Learn more about coyotes at https://wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild/Coyote. More information about other nuisance wildlife is available at www.dublin.ca.gov/99/wildlife.
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