Staying safe around coyotes in Michigan

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Coyote sightings are on the rise in suburbs across Michigan.

Their presence in subdivisions and suburban areas is a result of increasing populations of both coyotes and people, and intrusion of human environments into the coyote’s natural habitat, said Holly Vaughn, active public outreach and engagement unit manager in the wildlife division of the Department of Natural Resources.

 “The Department of Natural Resources wouldn’t necessarily say that the coyote population has increased in urban areas, rather, people are moving into coyote habitat through urban sprawl,” said Vaughn.

Breeding season is in the spring for coyotes but during the fall is when the pups leave the den and expand their home range, according to information from the city of Sterling Heights.

Coyotes are able to adapt to all habitat types in Michigan, Vaughn said. They are most commonly found in areas that have food, cover and water.

Meridian Township Police Department has received more reports about coyotes in local neighborhoods recently.

Lt. Richard Grillo, the services division commander of Meridian Township Police said, their department recommends that residents report sightings and issues with coyotes to the Lansing branch of the Department of Natural Resources.

Coyotes are being spotted all across Michigan and pet owners are concerned.

Nancy Wegryn has lived in Northville, Michigan for ten years and said coyotes have become much more common in her neighborhood in the past two years. 

She has changed habits and been more cautious of what times she is letting her dog out. 

“After dark I usually have her on a leash instead of just the electronic collar because I don’t want her taking off after a coyote,” Wegryn said.

The department has an informational safety brochure on coyotes and what to do if you come in contact with the animal, hunting laws and basic information about the Michigan coyote.

Vaughn also included safety tips for people to follow in order avoid unwanted contact with a coyote.

“Coyotes that are fed become accustomed to people and present a human safety risk,” Vaughn said. “People should never intentionally feed or attempt to tame coyotes. It is in the best interest of both coyotes and humans if coyotes retain their instinctive fear of people.”

Follow the safety tips provided to stay clear of a coyote encounter and keep your pets on a tight leash.

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