A security camera in the Presidio managed to capture a territorial fight between three dueling coyotes for dominion over the 1,500-acre park a few months prior. Sure, it’s no David Attenborough-narrated nature documentary – but the footage is certainly welcomed respite from this dystopian news cycle.
Coyotes really are living their best lives while we’re all tucked away inside... and disinfecting our Amazon delivery boxes.
Coyote pupping season is here! This is a friendly reminder that we’re preparing for the seasonal closure of sections of the Bay Area Ridge Trail + Park Trail to dog walking starting April 6. Learn more about coyotes in the Presidio - https://t.co/wUErijMorr#nature#wildlife pic.twitter.com/xTjODmpN8m— Presidio of SF (@presidiosf) April 2, 2020
As SFist reported earlier: coyotes are taking full advantage of SF’s shelter-in-place order, running and hunting up and down our vacant city streets. But before we all took to our well-worn couches and embraced Zoom happy hours, a male and female pair of these lanky canines, gung-ho on expanding their home range, were caught on camera battling the Presidio’s resident alpha male for dominance. And they won.
Video from the Presidio Trust, published via ABC7, shows the coyote pair pushing the occupant alpha male out of his dominating rank among the Presidio’s coyote population. The grainy security footage catches the new canine royalty, frankly, bullying the once-ruling male down a stairwell, out of the frame and sans his proverbial crown. (It’s unclear as to where the previous alpha female was during this enitre confrontation.)
"Yeah, we had coup d'etat if you will, a new alpha pair came and took over and kicked out the old alpha pair," said Presidio Wildlife Ecologist Jonathan Young to ABC7’s Dion Lim, making a point to also mention that coyote pupping season is now upon us, regretful news to SF dog owners.
While coyotes aren’t prone to act aggressively toward humans, they are however known to regularly hunt or defend themselves from domestic cats and dogs. Pupping season exacerbates this problem further, especially with regards to mothering coyotes. Alas, the Presidio Trust has chosen to temporarily close sections of the Park Trail and the Bay Area Ridge Trail to hounds starting April 6 for the next few weeks or months over concerns about dog safety.
"[...] coyotes have a protective parental instinct to get those dogs away from the den," he explains,” Young adds before describing how to avoid run-ins with these medium-sized canines. "And if a dog is in this area the chances of conflict is higher. So if you avoid these areas that are clearly labeled with signage, the chances of conflict between a dog and a coyote are going to be significantly reduced.”
The Presidio Trust actively monitors its coyote population, utilizing a combination of colored ear tags and temporary GPS collars to not only learn more about their habits but to safeguard the public from encountering them. Field biologists at the Presidio Trust have already identified the new 2020 alpha pair and successfully tagged one of the animals; two read tags and a GPS collar designate the alpha female, while the dominant male still remains elusive, but he does have a noticeable scar right beneath his right eye.
Regardless, evergreen advice on avoiding snafus with coyotes — be it inside the park or along a desolate urban street — still rings true: Keep your distance.
COYOTE SPOTTING! 👀— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) April 5, 2020
Coyote season closes some trails to dogs in the Presidio. Some alpha coyotes were recently caught on camera fighting: https://t.co/jwikCkbThB
Thanks to @amalalyousfi for this video 😯! pic.twitter.com/mnSzHGCY4s
According to San Francisco Animal Care and Control, the cumulative amount of coyotes living in San Francisco is somewhere in the dozens, though more research and tracking is needed to hone in on a more concrete estimate.
Image: Screenshot courtesy of Presidio Trust via ABC7