2006-10-07 / News

Coyote Shot on Island; State Park Claims It Was Dangerous

Acoyote observes a passerby along Lakeshore Boulevard in early September. One of the Island's coyotes was shot this fall after it approached a tourist at the Post Cemetery. (Photo by Leslie Christy) Acoyote observes a passerby along Lakeshore Boulevard in early September. One of the Island's coyotes was shot this fall after it approached a tourist at the Post Cemetery. (Photo by Leslie Christy) A coyote was shot on Mackinac Island by a Mackinac Island State Park employee after the animal approached a tourist Thursday morning, September 21, at the Post Cemetery. The visitor was not hurt.

The coyote circled the person and brushed up against the visitor's leg, said Pat Majher, public relations officer for the park. A park employee was sent to the area and shot the animal. No visitors were endangered in the process, she stressed.

Phil Porter, director of Mackinac State Historic Parks, said the animal's behavior was unusual for coyotes, who typically are wary of humans and tend to move around at night, although there was no indication the animal was diseased.

Mr. Porter said a coyote in the same area the previous day had run between the legs of a rental horse. The rider fell from the horse and was injured.

"This points out the seriousness of the situation for public safety and how we really needed to respond," he said. Hunting is not allowed on the Island, but park

manager Dan Cook is authorized by Mr. Porter and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to dispose of any wild animal that poses a danger to visitors, said Ms. Majher. No other coyotes are being targeted, however, Mr. Porter said.

He noted that complaints about coyotes have increased in the last two years, and their behavior has become more bold.

One or more coyotes have been observed downtown and in residential neighborhoods throughout the summer, possibly lured by an increasing rabbit population, and they have grown accustomed to humans and their activities. They have been frequently observed sunning themselves on roads and in corrals and appear tame.

Earlier this summer, the DNR warned residents not to feed or pet the animals.

"It's part of a growing concern," said Mr. Porter. "This is a pretty small place to have an increasing population of these animals."

He said park staff had been discussing the coyote issue with the DNR prior to the incidents in mid-September.

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