Just days after coyotes attacked a small dog in Clarence Center, a Lake View woman tells 7 Eyewitness News that she was followed by a coyote - even though she was operating a loud, noisy lawn tractor.
The woman said she was so shocked that she retreated to her house and the coyote followed her to the fence line.
When 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly went out to interview the woman, the coyote came out of the woods and interrupted the interview. You can see the encounter in the attached clip.
Wildlife experts remind the public that coyotes are an important part of the ecosystem because they eat rodents.
Elise Able, a wildlife rehabilitation expert from East Concord, who has worked with coyotes for thirty years, sent us the following email
"The coyote in the photograph in Lakeview is doing what is normal for a rodent eating animal. When fields are being cut or tilled, an opportunistic coyote, Red fox or flock of seagulls will often show up when a tractor is being used in a field to take advantage of the rodents that are suddenly exposed. They will often follow a tractor all day, pouncing on and caching the unfortunate rodents. It is not unusual for a coyote or fox to not be alarmed by a motor vehicle being driven, especially when the rodent hunting is so good! Farmers and neighbors should be grateful for the coyotes and Red foxes' free rodent control.
Concerned about Rabies? Rabies in coyotes is extremely rare, rarer in fact than rabies in livestock.
There have been no positive cases of rabies in coyotes in Erie County as long as there are records.
Coyotes actually help control rabies by preying on the animals that carry it."
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) sent along the following statement concerning coyotes:
DEC Region 9 has received 2 calls about a coyote in Clarence Center, one call yesterday and one today. Both calls were from neighbors that said they heard about it. DEC has not received a call or complaint from the dog owner. There has not been any increase in coyote attacks.
Coyotes are an integral part of New York's natural ecosystem, but can also come into conflict with people if they become habituated to humans and food sources. With the onset of warmer weather, many of New York's coyotes will set up dens for pups that will arrive this spring. Coyotes are well adapted to suburban and even urban environments, but for the most part will avoid contact with people.
The Eastern coyote is found everywhere from rural farmlands and forests to populated suburban and urban areas. In most cases, coyotes avoid people and provide many exciting opportunities for New Yorkers through observation, photography, hunting, and trapping. However, if coyotes learn to associate people with food, such as garbage or pet food, they may lose their natural fear of humans and the potential for close encounters or conflicts increases.
To minimize the chance of conflicts between people and coyotes, it is important to maintain coyotes' natural fear of people. Below are recommended steps residents and visitors can take to reduce or prevent conflicts with coyotes:
-Do not feed coyotes and discourage others from doing so.
-Unintentional food sources attract coyotes and other wildlife and increase risks to people and pets.
To reduce risks:
-Do not feed pets outside; Make garbage inaccessible to coyotes and other animals;
Fence or enclose compost piles so they are not accessible to coyotes; and eliminate availability of bird seed.
-Concentrations of birds and rodents that come to feeders can attract coyotes. If a coyote is seen near a birdfeeder, clean up waste seed and spillage to remove the attractant
-Do not allow coyotes to approach people or pets.
-Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.
If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior. Stand tall and hold arms out to look large. If a coyote lingers for too long, make loud noises, wave your arms, or throw sticks and stones.
Do not allow pets to run free. Supervise outdoor pets to keep them safe from coyotes and other wildlife, especially at sunset and at night. Small dogs and cats are especially vulnerable to coyotes.
Fencing your yard may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level, and taller than four feet.
Remove brush and tall grass from around your home to reduce protective cover for coyotes. Coyotes are typically secretive and like areas where they can hide.
Contact the local police department and DEC regional office for assistance if you notice that coyotes are exhibiting "bold" behaviors and have little or no fear of people. Seeing a coyote occasionally throughout the year is not evidence of bold behavior.
Ask neighbors to follow these same steps.
If coyote behavior becomes threatening, report it to the local DEC office, as this may indicate that some individual coyotes have lost their fear of people and there may be a greater risk that a problem could occur. For additional information about the Eastern Coyote and preventing conflicts with coyotes, visit the Eastern Coyote[dec.ny.gov] web page and Coyote Conflicts[dec.ny.gov] web page on DEC's website.