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Coyotes No Shows So Far this Summer in Santa Monica, Police Report

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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

August 5, 2015 -- Santa Monica police say a perennial visitor, increasingly considered a threat to the seaside city, seems to be off the radar so far this summer: The urban coyote.

Police here and throughout metro Los Angeles have been warning for years of the rising number of coyotes roaming into residential neighborhoods, particularly during the summer. They venture from their natural habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains to search for sustenance in family yards instead, officials say.

Researchers report that urban coyotes, once skittish out of their natural habitat, are increasingly accustomed to being around humans. 

In 2011, the SMPD received 14 reports of coyote sightings. Officials say there seems to be a corresponding increase each year in the number of posters for missing pets.

But so far this hot, dry summer, the coyote appears, at least to police, to be a no show.

No “recent sightings” have been reported to patrol units, said Sgt. Rudy Camarena, a Santa Monica Police Department spokesperson.

He offered no reason for the lack of reported sightings and said that police are not speculating on the absence.

Coyote sightings are tied to Santa Monica’s proximity to the country’s largest urban national park.

A National Park Service study of 128 coyotes captured and radio-collared from the Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and Calabasas areas found them to be present in fairly high densities in almost all the wilderness areas left in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. 

Two were also collared near downtown Los Angeles and fitted with GPS to detect their patterns of movement.

Unpopulated areas were the first choice for the coyotes, but those areas were so fragmented and scattered that the they needed to cross roadways in developed areas to reach them, the study found.

One of the radio-collared coyotes surprised researchers by crossing the 101 Freeway several times near the intersection of the 110 Freeway. For decades the 101 Freeway was considered a nearly impenetrable barrier to the movement further west of coyotes and other wild life from the Santa Monica Mountains.

But their presence in populated areas seems to be growing and lately police say that, as the animals grow more accustomed to humans, they are becoming more brazen. There even have been reports of coyotes attacking pets in the presence of humans.

SMPD officials point out that most coyotes will stay within three square miles or so of their birthplace. For the most part, it is when they need food or water that they start to wander. And that is typically in the summer months as their water supplies begin to dwindle.

To report coyote sightings, aggressive coyote behavior or animals injured or killed by a coyote you should call Santa Monica Police Animal Control at 310-458-8595 Tuesday through Saturday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Call Santa Monica Police Dispatch to report in-progress aggressive coyote behavior at 310-458-8491.


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