Coyote Spotted Again in the Same Section of Central Park, But ‘This Time It Came Closer’


By Carol Tannenhauser

Terry Meehan is a little “unnerved” after his second encounter with what he believes is the same coyote he saw about a month ago, in the same section of Central Park, near West 82nd Street.

Meehan was in the park on Saturday night, December 21st, a little after 9 p.m., with his dog, Rufus, a 70-pound goldendoodle, who was legally off leash. The park is open until 1 a.m.

“Rufus saw it first and chased it,” Meehan recalled. “I caught Rufus and put him on leash. Once I did, the coyote approached us, although this time, much more aggressively than last time. I threw sticks in its direction to ward it off, but it wasn’t too put off by that. Rufus barked like mad when it got closer, but it came closer still. This time was a bit more unnerving than last time because it got so close. It probably was the same one, since everything else seemed similar. It was by the water fountain on the path leading south along the bridle path.”

This is the third report of a coyote sighting in this area. 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, in which case, 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. Again, appreciate coyotes from a distance.

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 | 38 comments | permalink
    1. Steven Wright says:

      I couldn’t imagine a place a wild animal would enjoy less than Central Park.

      • B.B. says:

        Why? Further north one goes above 72nd street CP becomes quite “forest” and dense like.

        There is water, plenty of food (rodents, birds, fish, things left by humans, etc…), along with places to hide/build a home.

        Like the great public parks of Europe such as Bois de Boulogne carved out of long gone forests; Central Park was meant to be same.

        • UWS_lifer says:

          I always loved Vondel Park in Amsterdam. What a beautiful city. Always reminded me of Central Park when I was there.

      • Sean says:

        There is the carousel.

    2. GG says:

      Is it just me or is anyone else concerned that these people are just hanging out in Central Park at night? I get that they are walking their dogs but is it safe?

      Maybe I’m just old school but I would never casually be in the park at night. I was raised to avoid that at all costs. I guess in 2019 things are different.

      I guess that says a lot about how safe the city is these days. I don’t know. Just be safe out there everyone.

    3. CAL says:

      More reasons to have dogs on-leash.

      • Billy Amato says:

        Dogs are permitted off leash at nightfall during the winter months and during the daylight saving-time months they must be leashed before 9 PM. But who is looking…
        Dog owners use common sense when in the park at all times. After the sunset and bring a bright LCD flashlight with you. Shine it in the predators face and they will run…
        also take more pictures 🙂

        • CAL says:

          Who is looking? People who want to enjoy the Park and don’t want your dog jumping on them or approaching them unrestrained between 9am and 9pm. That’s who’s looking.

    4. Elliot says:

      How did they get there? B line from the Bronx?

      • BillyNYC says:

        They travel down from the upper West side train tracks i.e. Riverdale from the upper parts of Westchester.
        This is nothing new and going on for years…Just use common sense and stay away from them.
        When walking your dog in Central Park or Riverside Park make sure you bring a bright LCD flashlight.

    5. mary reinholz says:

      Thanks for publishing this piece about coyote sightings in CPW. Would love to know what Parks Dept is doing to return coyotes to the wild. It would very sad if anyone hurt or killed these beautiful creatures.

      • Paul says:

        Coyotes have been thriving in the parks in the Northern Bronx for at least a decade. Parks Dept kept it quiet for years.
        They’re hearty and resourceful and Central Park is more than ample.

    6. Esther says:

      Why are you in the park at 9pm anyway. Can’t you walk your dog in the streets?

      • allie says:

        You must not own a dog to ask such a question.
        All dogs, big or small, NEED to run, something they cannot do on a leash in the streets. Without running and burning off their excess energy, dogs can get bored and sometimes destructive when left alone in the apartment.
        That’s why the Parks Dept allows dogs to be off leash in parks after 9p. and before 9am.

        • Paul says:

          There are dog runs.
          With coyotes in the park, letting a dog run off leash at dusk or later seems a bit risky, no?

    7. Joe says:

      Here in Queens, Bats,Racoons,Coyotes come out at Night. Dogs,Squirrels,Pigeons come out day
      time. What’s with the Dogs late at Night??

    8. UWS Dad says:

      Central Park is open until 1am so it’s reasonable to expect some people to enjoy it until 1am.

    9. Jk says:

      I’ve been wondering where my emotional support coyote has been.

    10. Biancaneve says:

      For appropriate responses, please see
      Coyotes can interpret dog behavior (greeting, barking, approaching) as aggressive (coyotes don’t socialize in that way). At that point, they may make a show of hostility. Keep your dog leashed in the area and haze if necessary (see link).

    11. Willie Kyoti says:

      Wow- cool pic! I’ve seen coyotes of all sizes in the wild in New England. This one looks pretty tall, well fed and healthy to me. Unless it’s menacing to people or under duress, I think it is really cool to see nature like this surviving in the middle of NYC!

    12. west sider says:

      This year in late-May, I saw a coyote in Central Park in the early AM. Incredible. It ran across West Drive into the Ramble.

      It passed closer to two other people who missed it. Not even my dog seemed to notice! Sneaky!!

    13. MQue says:

      Talk about victim shaming “why was someone in the park at night” Because that’s where you take you dog!!! Not all dogs like to use the restroom on the street and maybe the person felt letting the dog gets some off leash time and run would tire the dog out before bed time especially a goldendoodle which is full of energy

      • GG says:

        Just curious…are you a millennial or a transplant?:)

        Look, not going into Central Park after dark is like the first lesson you learn in Surviving NYC 101.

        And nobody is blaming anyone else but people have to take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions. High risk behavior is more likely to result in…oh well you get the point.

        • Vera W Kelly says:

          Until I (a female) had a dog I would never have entered central park solo after dark. But, with dog, going into the park after 9pm is not stupid– if one follows certain safety protocols. We walk as groups, call it a posse if you will, or stay in groups while the dogs play right inside entrances to the park. We are a community that watches each other’s backs and I have witnessed defending each other no matter what the threat. We are more alert, more observant, more aware than you when entering during daylight hours solo and sans dog. I worry way more about a dog who is unprovoked responding with aggression to a coyote who, if not barked at or threatened would probably turn the other dog-cheek.

        • MQue says:

          Gen X born and raised on the UWS Lived across the street of this park my whole life. I’ve been going to the park in the dark since I Was a kid. So you’re saying you shouldn’t be in the park past 4:30pm. Talk about sheltered life

        • uws_dog_walker says:

          Have you been in central park after 9pm anytime in the last 10 years? There are regular dog walkers that let their dogs play off leash every night. There are regular police patrols at a bunch of the popular areas. It’s super safe.

          • jaygee says:

            I run after dark around the park’s full loop — and have done so for several years — as do many other runners. There are police patrols at the 102nd St transverse, and usually, I find myself personally tailed all the way around the northern loop/West 110th Street — talk about having a personal escort.

        • My Dog says:

          To address your earlier question, I think it’s just you.

          Are YOU a native NYer? Are you under 90 years of age?

          Do you ever leave your apartment? Or do you scurry home every day by 4:45PM, and lock all 27 deadbolts on your front door, before pushing all the furniture up against it, and crawling under the bed to await sweet morning light?

          Are you aware that there’s a police precinct house (22nd) in Central Park, and that persons walking around the southern edge of the reservoir walk through a parking lot for police personnel?

          Who’s in the park after 9PM? Dog owners walking their dogs.
          Runners. Walkers. Cyclists. Delivery personnel. Groups of young people heading home after synagogue. Tourists returning to their hotels. And police patrols. Lots and lots of police patrols.

          You should get out more, GG. Live a little. Just a little.

      • CAL says:

        Now there are “dog restrooms” on the streets? Oh. You mean sidewalks are dog toilets! Gross.

    14. Gee says:

      On Friday 12/20/2019 about 4:00 p.m my husband and I was driving towards the Bronx
      When I saw a coyote looking like the one seen at central park. He was standing on the side of the road at the Ridgehill exit on spring brook parkway.

    15. Lisa says:

      Definitely report this to

    16. Nancy says:

      How can you seriously suggest not taking a dog off leash at 9pm, or even later! I am a 67 yo female and often took my dogs by myself. I stayed reasonably near the streetlights and tried to stay around people. Would I go into the ramble at 3am? No. How do you even know this persons work schedule? Stay inside. That’s where you belong.

    17. J says:

      I take my dog in Central Park every night while I go rollerblading. I’ve seen the coyote a few times and the last time it followed us for a while.

      As long as it is just eating the rats, mice, and squirrels I have no problem sharing the park, but I have bad feeling it will eventually attack someone’s dog.

    18. kls says:



    19. We have them all over Las Vegas , they are not dangerous , though it’s good to keep small pets inside and dogs on a leash. I not know of any case where they have harmed humans. They are very interesting animals.

    20. George Costanza says:

      ~Midnight, 12/27-12/28. Coyote aggressively charged out of the wooded area to the west of the Great Lawn, running toward my (leashed) dog and me as we were walking on the West Drive.

      This coyote was totally unafraid of humans or dogs, and would not be dissuaded from following us, making three separate passes from about 15-20 yards.

      Given the number of reports about a coyote in this area, why has nothing been done to rehome the animal for its own safety?