Coyote moves to Near West Side
April 5, 2012

By Susan S. Stevens

Since coyotes have been spotted in the Loop, it was only a matter of time before one of their growing number discovered a hospitable community in and near the Illinois Medical District (IMD). Now it has.

John Walsh, president of the University Village Association, spotted the newest community member in early February in Garibaldi Park. “It was playing like a dog, taking a stick and throwing it in the air,” Walsh said. “It was really cute—well fed with a winter coat, quite happy.”

Some people felt concern the coyote was in a park with a play lot, however, it appears to have moved on. Since then, Walsh said, people have seen the coyote in the IMD.

Chicago’s Animal Care and Control Commission will not capture the coyote, spokesman Brad Powers said. “We do not trap coyotes unless they are vicious, dangerous, or a threat to public safety.”

If coyotes pose a threat, the City uses a catchpole to corral them and sends them out of the area. “I know coyotes do eat rats and control the rodent population,” Powers said. They pose a risk to other small animals, however. “We advise people walking a small dog to pick it up if they see a coyote” because coyotes are afraid of humans.

Animal experts also recommend people put their hands in the air to appear more frightening to coyotes.

Walsh’s advice to community residents: “Don’t be alarmed if you see a coyote. They eat pests.” Further advice from Walsh: keep cats indoors and watch small dogs.