Coyote Spotted in Central Park Near West 82nd Street; ‘He Followed Us.’

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:

We also received a report of a coyote sighting in March in Riverside Park. And we wrote about a rise in sightings of coyotes and other NYC wildlife here.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 36 comments | permalink
    1. Ethan says:

      How the heck does a lone coyote get into a park surrounded by “urbanity?” Subterfuge?

    2. Billy Amato says:

      Too spooky with shadows peeking out from trees and bushes for me walking around late at night in Central Park. It’s not the first time coyotes have been spotted in this area…Back in the early 80s they found a family with there pups (3) underneath the Delacorte theater.

    3. CharlieAndCosmo says:

      I can see that this coyote had no regrets; he probably just comes from a different set of cirumstances.

    4. geoff says:

      From the Department of Environmental Conservation for New York State: …a little perspective may be in order. On average, 650 people are hospitalized and one person killed by dogs each year in New York State. Nationwide, only a handful of coyote attacks occur yearly. Nevertheless, dog and coyote conflicts are bad for people, pets, and coyotes.

      Six or Seven years agoI tracked a coyote during a blizzard, in reverse, following her footprints from Cherry Hill (whence she came) across Bow Bridge and up into The Ramble. Two had crossed the bridge together; one took a side trip to Bethesda Fountain. It was very early in the morning, too early for the coyote coffee klatsch, I presume.

    5. B.B. says:

      Don’t spirits sometimes shape shift into various animals?

      The Winterdale Arch is where that poor unfortunate soul hanged himself earlier this year.

      Picture of that lone coyote against the empty background of the park made me think of this; don’t know why.

    6. michael says:

      A good number of the lights in that area have been off since last week. While there are a number of generated lights installed, it would be nice if the park could do a little more towards lighting the areas that have remained completely dark.

      • Charles says:

        Why? The park is full of wildlife that has no need for night lighting.

        • Cato says:

          See, michael? You got a predictable response.

          Your better strategy would have been to advocate for more lights *because the bicyclists need them*. Then you would have seen new lights within 24 hours.

          • EricaC says:

            But do you disagree substantively? The human inhabitants of the park are very limited at night. Why add more light?

    7. Devarochira says:

      My friends saw this coyote the other night. Usually coyotes are pack animals and this one seemed lonely and on its own. There’s plenty of pigeons, squirrels and garbage for it to eat in Central Park. Let’s see if we all can coexist with this beautiful creature.

      • jezbel says:

        Actually coyotes are not pack animals. You’re thinking of wolves. I spend 22 years living in Arizona where coyotes are common. They are lone hunters. They generally sleep during the day or lay low. And they hunt at night. They are monogamous and mate for life and can often be seen hunting with their mate, unless she’s heavily pregnant. They usually stay away from humans, but in urban areas may realize they get food from them. Never feed coyotes. Many of them carry rabies from the prey they’ve eaten.

        • Tracy says:

          Hello, I just returned from North Scottsdale Arizona, and as usual, heard a pack of coyotes communicating (yelping and yowling) with each other late at night and the early morning hours. I used to run open spaces, in Northern California in the late nineties and early 2000s, and was never concerned if I saw one coyote, but became concerned when I saw two. I believe they are are cooperative hunters, but can also hunt alone, as the pack grows and an individual moves into a new territory. No matter, wonderful they are in Central Park. However, I do not recommend allowing a dog off-leash late at night.

    8. Suzie E says:

      This makes me so sad. I hope the park rangers can dart the coyote and send it upstate or somewhere else (with a good food supply) where it can exist in peace and find others of its kind. Otherwise, I can’t see things ending well…

    9. Elizabeth Viliani says:

      We spotted this coyote Monday, Nov 11 to n the middle of the ballfields – jumped the high fence & ran in the direction of the Carousel – this was early morning walking my dog with other dog walking friends – we alerted a park maintenance guy.

    10. paulcons says:

      Let us not forget there is a very real fascination with “exotic” animals in the city (300 lb. bengal tigers anyone). My bet is someone bought a baby coyote and when it grew and they tired of it (or were repulsed at it’s wild nature) they just tossed the poor critter onto the street.

      • Paul says:

        Coyotes have been running around the City for over a decade. They’re abundant in Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay Parks, and as new litters are born the yearlings are sent packing by the parents.

        As another commenter noted, they come down the Amtrak rights of way (tons of mice and rats for food) and disburse from there.

    11. Peteski says:

      Do a little ‘coyote dog attack’ youtube search. I didn’t know.

    12. CAL says:

      If it makes people keep dogs on leashes. Go coyotes!

    13. LiL says:

      I think someone did brought a couple of coyotes to CP.

    14. Lisa & Gigi says:

      We have seen that coyote by the great lawn many times around 5:40am before sunrise while walking Dakota and Molly. Terry you usually come a little later so miss him in the daylight!

    15. Lisa & Gigi says:

      We see him on and around the Great Lawn before sunrise while walking Dakota and Molly. Terry, you come after daylight with Rufus when he has gone back into hiding. We even named him, Cody Coyote!

    16. C.K. says:

      Beautiful photo of trees in the city at night complete with wildlife too!

    17. Allison says:


    18. Jim Demers says:

      I’m pretty sure it was the snack-sized dogs that had the coyote’s interest. Good incentive to keep pets on a leash!
      Which makes me think that Prospect Park could really use a few coyotes. Same way they use goats to keep the poison ivy under control.

    19. Mr. Tuxedo says:

      I think I saw one in Inwood Hill Park, Northern “Upstate” Manhattan.

    20. Newbie Yorker says:

      This Coyote needs to wary or the North Woods Beast might devour him / her

    21. Elena says:

      How wonderful, to have a coyote visit and maybe live in Central Park. We often don’t appreciate the role of predators in nature. A welcome addition, to be admired and protected.