By Carol Tannenhauser
The wild animal that followed Terry Meehan through Central Park on Saturday night was almost certainly a coyote, he said. He spotted it around 9:45 p.m. near the Winterdale Arch, which crosses the bridle path around West 82nd Street.
Meehan had just finished walking his dog Rufus and his friend’s dog Blue around the Great Lawn and was headed for the West Side, when he saw an “unaccompanied” animal that he is “99.9% sure was a coyote,” he told WSR. “I had some experience with them when I lived in Connecticut. I’d bet my last nickel this was one. He followed us. I turned around and he was there. I got concerned. I snapped the picture and left.”
This is the second report of a coyote sighting in this vicinity. In March 2019, one was seen on the rocks below Belvedere Castle. At the time, the parks department reminded people to stay away from any coyotes they see, and to call 311 (unless it’s an emergency, when they should call 911.) Parks also issued the following guidelines:
- Do not feed coyotes. Keeping coyotes wild is the key to coexistence. Feeding coyotes can cause them to lose their natural hunting instincts and to associate humans with food.
- Observe and appreciate coyotes from a distance. Though they may look similar to dogs, coyotes are wild animals. The best way to ensure both your safety and the safety of the coyote is to keep your distance.
- Store all food and garbage in animal-proof containers. Coyotes are very resourceful, and will find ways into unsecured trash bins and pet food containers.
- Protect your pets. Walk dogs on a leash and keep cats inside for safety.
- Keep coyotes wary. If you are approached, make yourself look bigger by putting your arms up, and make loud noises until the coyote retreats. Appreciate coyotes from a distance.