Staten Island would be one of the best places for coyotes
[Reprinted from original]
Staten Island would be ‘one of the best places’ for coyotes, expert says
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- While Staten Island might not have any official coyote sightings -- yet -- the vast green areas in the borough would make it a perfect habitat for the wild animal.
“Staten Island is probably one of the best places for coyotes,” said Frank Vincenti, the founder of the Wild Dog Foundation (http://wilddog.hypermart.net/Home/Wild_dog_page/WildDog_WebSite/index.htm).
Vincenti founded the Wild Dog Foundation -- an organization that documents the coyote, fox and African wild dog sightings on Long Island -- after he started working on the subject 25 years ago, when he says the first coyotes made their way into the Bronx.
Though coyotes are considered secretive animals who tend to avoid people, “they also get used to everything” pretty quickly, Vincenti explained.
“Nobody tells them to get away and tries to shoo them away,” he said, which likely makes coyotes more used to humans.
Coyotes are not particularly attracted to deer, Vincenti continued.
“Deer are just an added benefit,” he said. “Coyotes would not come here for deer, but for the space.”
Staten Island has the largest concentration of green areas among the five boroughs.
But actually arriving on the Island could pose a challenge for coyotes, Vincenti said.
Because Staten Island is missing a direct connection with the state, it is more likely the wild animals would arrive here from New Jersey, presumably by swimming.
“They would have a hard time getting here,” said Vincenti.
A state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) source previously told the Advance that there haven’t been any official sightings on the Island.
“That said, coyotes are secretive and very well might have colonized the Island,” the source said.
While there haven’t been any official sightings on Staten Island, coyote sightings have increased in recent years, both in the outer boroughs and Manhattan, particularly in Central Park.
Though they could be considered dangerous, coyotes are considered “an integral part of New York’s ecosystem and provide many benefits to New Yorkers through observation, hunting, and trapping,” the DEC source said.
In the meantime, the New York City Parks Department is conducting a survey to determine whether there are coyotes inhabiting the borough’s West Shore, the Advance exclusively reported (https://www.silive.com/news/2019/11/foxes-spotted-but-coyotes-city-studying-wild-canines-on-sis-west-shore.html).
In 2012, after a possible coyote sighting was reported at Fresh Kills, Dr. Paul D. Curtis, a wildlife specialist and then-co-principal investigator for the New York Suburban Coyote Study, told the Advance they could pose a danger (https://www.silive.com/news/2012/04/coyote_sighted_at_former_landf.html).
“Coyotes can be dangerous to people and pets, and they should be treated with respect,” he said at the time. “Small dogs [15 pounds] are at greatest risk. Coyotes will kill dogs in territorial defense. Very aggressive coyotes have even tried to kill small dogs while the owner was at the other end of a leash.”