Coyote encounter website tracks coyote sightings in California

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Coyote Cacher, a website launched by the University of California in February 2017 that allows users to track coyote sightings, has recorded four coyote sightings around Berkeley within the past 30 days.

Niamh Quinn, a human-wildlife interactions adviser at the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and one of the website’s developers, said her team wanted to create a central system for monitoring coyotes in California.

Urban coyote conflicts increase during pup-rearing season, which occurs from May through August, according to the Coyote Cacher website.

Quinn said the site can help “alert people to conflict” and that the city of Berkeley can use the data to locate hotspots for wild animals. The website collects data of coyote sightings in all of California, but most encounters recorded on the site so far occured in Southern California. The second-most dense region of coyote sightings reported in the past month was located in the Bay Area, and four of these sightings were in Berkeley.

“My neighbor’s cat was killed and eaten by two coyotes at around 3 a.m. … We are all very upset that this happened,” said a Berkeley resident in one of the reports. They added that the encounter, which occurred on Lincoln and Edith streets, was captured on their neighbor’s security camera.

Users can report a green, yellow or red encounter with coyotes. Green indicates that there was only a sighting or that a pet is missing, yellow indicates that a person was chased or a pet was attacked and red indicates that a person was bitten or a pet was killed.

The website displays three red reports and one green report in Berkeley in the past 30 days.

No recent coyote sightings have been reported to the police, according to UCPD.

Shirley Dean, the former president of the Berkeley Safe Neighborhoods Committee, said she often receives emails from Berkeley community members expressing their concerns over coyote or mountain lion sightings.

“I am not surprised, because we have intruded into wild lands and because of the drought and the climate change,” Dean said. “It is not surprising that coyotes and other animals would come into people’s property.”

In the past, alerts from UCPD have discouraged students from hiking or jogging alone because of mountain lion sightings that have occurred close to campus.

According to Dean, Berkeley residents must be “sensible” and “not panic” during wild animal sightings. The website advises that pets should be kept inside and fences and poultry enclosures should be built as a precaution.

“I don’t want to go into a wholesale killing of these animals, because it’s their environment, too,” Dean said about the coyotes.

Isabella Sabri is the lead student life reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @isabella_sabri.