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All about San Francisco’s Coyotes, Many are Born in the Presidio

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With people across the world staying indoors, local animals are reportedly coming out of the woodwork more often, and sightings have increased.   In San Francisco for example, you’ve seen increased reports of coyote activity around the city.  And the same general thing is happening in other places around the world.  The difference is ever city has it’s own kind of wildlife showing up a bit more often.  Swarms of Monkeys in Thailandpumas roaming in cities in Chile , Goats and Boar foraging in Europe towns, rats running free in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and on and on.

In San Francisco, and across the state of California, photos and stories of coyotes keep circulating, as if the Army of the Twelve Monkeys has released new packs of wild canines into our cities.  In reality, the coyotes in San Francisco have been here for years.  We know this because the Presidio Trust tagged 16 San Franciscan coyotes, born in the Presidio in 2018. They also put GPS collars on many of them to see where they go.   The Presidio’s latest ‘alpha female’ also has a gps collar, and two red ear tags.  (see bellow)

Coyote 15F, the Presidio’s new alpha female, photo taken in July 2019. (Photo by David Harelson, Presidio Trust)

March also happens to be the start of coyote “pupping season’ which means coyote activity will be more frequent around their den, and their den is in the Presidio.  We know this because the Presidio Trust has it’s own ecologist that keeps track of these things.   If you want to read about the coyotes and their Ecologist Jonathan Young, check out this great article in Bay Nature, you’ll see that not only have coyotes been in San Francisco for years, but that the coyotes roam all over the Bay Area.  Coyotes are an excellent way to keep the rodent population down in our ecosystem. Here’s the gps map of one coyote born in the Presidio, he went all the way to Santa Clara.

GPS collar data on a young male coyote that left the Presidio in 2016.  Source: KQED May 2019

In 2016, the Presidio Trust started a coyote monitoring program, which involves tagging and collaring  the animals with temporary GPS devices. Sixteen coyotes have been tagged to date. Not including the offspring born in the spring of 2019, 15 pups have sprung from three different litters.  In other words, we’ve had plenty of coyotes in the Bay Area for years, they are just a bit more visible in places that normally would be filled with people and cars.  Like this sitting in the Inner Richmond for example posted last week.

There was a post on Facebook last week; “Coyotes howling on Greenwich & Powell at 11pm last night. Wild to see!”  There are many new sittings all the time given the empty streets, the coyotes, go where they like.

Coyotes howling on Greenwich & Powell at 11pm last night. Wild to see!

Posted by Nick Bruno Delia on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Coyotes in SF are nothing new, they are free to run around the city now because of quarantine, and it just so happens to be ‘Pupping season as well’: checkout the “Coyotes in the Presidio’ informational video:

​If You Encounter a Coyote in the Presidio, or on the streets here is what the expert at the Presidio Trust recommend:

  • Keep your distance; do not approach the coyote.
  • Keep your dog on a leash and under your control.
  • Observe posted signs about coyote activity in the park.
  • Supervise children when outdoors.
  • Never attempt to feed a coyote. Do not leave human or pet food outside where coyotes might eat it. Presidio residents should put garbage out on the morning of pickup instead of the night before. To get a clip for your trash bin from Presidio Trust Work Order Service Center, call (415) 561-4270.

If you encounter a coyote within 50 feet and the coyote does not move away on its own, here are ways you can haze/intimidate the animal to help it retain a fear of humans:

  • Be as big and loud as possible; shout in a deep, loud, and aggressive voice.
  • Wave your arms and throw small objects (to scare, not injure).
  • Maintain eye contact, which makes them uncomfortable and timid.
  • If the coyote continues to approach, do not run or turn your back on the coyote, but continue to exaggerate the above gestures while backing away slowly. Please report this type of incident to (415) 561-4148 or coyote@presidiotrust.gov.

If you encounter a coyote during pupping season (spring through fall) AND you have a dog with you, the best course of action is to back away slowly and leave the area immediately. Coyotes will attempt to drive away other coyotes and dogs from their pups, and hazing may not work.

For more coyote information check out the www.presidio.gov/presidio-trust/planning/Coyotes-in-the-Presidio

The new alpha coyotes in the Presidio. (Photo by David Harelson, Presidio Trust)

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

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