After a pair of coyote attacks in Chicago this week, many residents are on edge, but experts say that it is exceedingly rare for the animals to become aggressive with humans.
Animal experts say there are about 2,000 coyotes in the Chicago area, and while most prefer to stay out of sight, several have been spotted in different parts of the city, including Streeterville and Lincoln Park.
Experts believe that the recent coyote attacks in the city were likely caused by two factors: humans giving food sources to the animals, or illness in the animals.
“Any time wildlife comes in close contact with humans, I’m concerned,” biologist Chris Anchor said.
For 20 years, Anchor and his team of researchers at the Cook County Urban Coyote Research Project have been studying coyotes, analyzing the animals’ habits and their patterns.
In all that time of research, Anchor said that the group has never documented a case of a coyote actually attacking a human.
“We have never been able to document a case of a coyote actually making contact with a human in the state,” he said. “These animals are very intelligent, and they’ve learned to ignore people.”
After the recent attacks in the city, Anchor says that the coyote could be hungry for food, or could be dealing with an illness.
“The biggest thing I want to stress is that coyotes should not be fed. You should never feed them,” he said. “Also, any wild animal that is sick or injured is a danger to humans.”
Anchor said that coyotes are in the area to stay, and humans have to do their best to co-exist with them.
“You are part of a coyote’s home reign territory,” he said. “They are there, and we are not going to get rid of them.”