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.