An aggressive coyote that several mothers reported had gotten too close for comfort with their small children in the San Francisco Botanical Garden, has been euthanized.
We heard the story in late June about this coyote who was not displaying typical fears of humans and was, instead, running out in broad daylight and aggressively approaching small children. No one was bitten, as far as we know, but several mothers were spooked — including one who had actually worked on a coyote study in the Marin Headlands.
"It was definitely not normal coyote behavior, and the fact it happened multiple times in the same day is not normal," Monica Pflager told SFGate at the time. "I’ve never seen such a healthy coyote that wants to go after healthy kids."
Now, as KPIX reports, federal wildlife officials stepped in due to the extraordinary nature of the case. San Francisco Animal Care & Control and the Recreation & Park Department sounded the alarm bell several weeks ago, and the city released a statement Friday saying, "Federal officials acted after determining the coyote had become a serious threat to public safety."
Experts have said that coyotes typically lose their fear of humans when they are repeatedly fed by people, which this coyote in Golden Gate Park potentially was. It's unclear if this was the same coyote mother who had given birth to a litter of seven pups in the Botanical Garden this spring, or what the fate of those pups may be if it was.
"It saddens us that this outcome was 100 percent caused by humans feeding and befriending this animal," said Virginia Donohue, Executive Director of Animal Care & Control, in a statement. "We implore people to stop feeding wild animals."
The last coyote incident we knew about in the Botanical Garden was on June 18, when two mothers reported having to rescue their toddlers and were convinced the coyote would have bitten one of them. Officials said this coyote had been implicated in five separate incidents of aggressive behavior toward people.
Back in the winter, an aggressive coyote in Contra Costa County repeatedly bit five people — including two toddlers — in a park area near Lafayette. That coyote was caught and euthanized on March 11.
Photo: Ross Sokolovski