Central Park’s Elusive Coywolf

Coywolf Hill

Coywolf Hill,This is the kind of distant, lousy glimpse of the Central Park Coywolf you’ll get after much effort.In other words, he’s not bothering anyone. To see much better pictures, check out Urban Hawks.

Last night I got to see a coywolf in Central Park. I went at dusk to see the coyote Bruce Yolton has been tracking at urbanhawks. After an hour of walking in the slush around the pond near 57th Street, I got to see him or her for a few minutes. So, it’s not as if he’s marauding joggers or stealing hot dogs from vendors. But the big question is whether somebody’s going to panic and demand his capture. Or really,  knowing New York, when.

As Yolton has pointed out on Urban Hawks, his excellent photoblog of NYC wildlife, the coyote seems to be sleeping during the day in the Hallett Nature Sanctuary, the only part of the park off limits to people and dogs, which is surrounded by water and fence. Once again, I didn’t have to be a good enough spotter to see the coyote in the dark, just good enough to see Yolton with his massive lens and tripod. The coyote lurked by the pond edge, then headed back up the sanctuary’s hill, where he could have been seen by anybody on 57th Street. Then he gave us the slip. He’s been spotted in the north end of the park, too.

This coywolf, or perhaps others, have been spotted in Manhattan all

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Coyote Filmed Playing Ice Hockey With Bottle in Central Park

Wildlife photographer Bruce Yolton, who runs the Urban Hawks blog, shot a video Monday night of a coyote (well, really a coywolf) playing hockey with an empty bottle on the pond near the southeast corner of Central Park. That’s right, the coyote coyote who was up at Columbia University earlier this month maybe went further south in the park, right on the edge of midtown and the Plaza Hotel. You can see the coyote lick the bottle, as if hoping for a last drop of food. And he’s close enough to the street that you can see emergency lights flashing on the ice.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLZdBVZhOrA&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01]

Yolton is known for stalking the park at all hours and getting incredible wildlife shots–often keeping them secret for months so he doesn’t attract crowds that disturb wildlife. He’d reported in early February that a coyote was in the park. He thinks this coyote may have discovered the peninsula that sticks out into the pond and is a preserve.

Often when a species is off wandering on its own, it’s a young male looking for new territory. In March 2006 another young male coyote made a media spectacle of himself in Central Park; one year old Hal was finally caught, then died in captivity from a combination of stress, heartworm and rat poison. Let’s hope this one quietly makes it back to the Bronx.

Where to See Wolves and Coywolves

How You Can See Wild Animals Even in New York City

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Central Park Raccoons to Get Rabies Shots

Raccoon spectacle

Manhattan raccoons, faced with an epidemic of rabies, are going to get trapped, vaccinated and tagged (so they don’t have to go through the ordeal a second time.) There was a mild panic this winter in the city as rabies started showing up in the raccoons of Central Park and upper Manhattan.

People may have panicked more if they realized how many raccoons really live in this densely packed city. The New York City Health Department has found 49 rabid raccoons in Manhattan, mostly in the top 13 blocks of Central Park. (Oddly, the state isn’t keeping  up.) As a wildlife rehabber I get calls from people who just spot raccoons in the city. The raccoons are fine, but people assume something is terribly wrong if a raccoon is living here.

That’s a relief to animal lovers who feared they’d just be rounded up and euthanized–an animal control strategy that usually doesn’t work because new animals just move into the undefended territory.

If you go on an owl walk at dusk in summer in the North Woods of Central Park, you’ll be amazed at how many raccoons you’ll see. They’ll be sleepily climbing out of tree cavities and holes between boulders to start their day.

American pets don’t get rabies much anymore because they get vaccines. The northeast has a huge population of  rabid raccoons thanks to hunters who imported them from dealers, John Hadidian, head of the Humane Society of the United State‘s Urban Wildlife program. The

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Coyotes Trot Around Columbia University; Panic Ensues

Three coyotes were spotted trotting around Columbia University in upper Manhattan this past week. The Ivy League university put out a public safety warning for all students to be on the lookout for the canines. DNAinfo says these sightings were Wednesday; Gawker puts it at Sunday.

Three animals identified as coyotes were observed in front of Lewisohn Hall [116th Street and Broadway] this morning, 911 was contacted and NYPD responded. NYPD spotted one of the animals and confirmed it was a coyote. The one coyote that was seen by NYPD and CUPS went behind the CEPSR build and it is believed exited the campus.An additional sighting by CU facilities was called in approximately 10:00 AM this morning but was not confirmed. All members of the community are advised not to approach these animals.

There’s a bit of a breathless freak-out online, but many New Yorkers have been wiser, pointing out they could help with the rat and pigeon problems. They’ll figure it out and go back to New Jersey or Westchester or wherever they’re from. (Columbia is within a mile or two of five smaller bridges to the Bronx.) They must be pretty unobtrusive to have made it all the way to Columbia–through some of the most densely populated areas in the country–without anybody noticing.

As a wildlife rehabber, I sometimes get calls from New Yorkers about raccoons. The raccoons aren’t in distress; people just assume they must be in some kind of trouble to end up

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