Chicago residents are on high alert after a string of coyote-related incidents in recent days, including an attack that left a young boy hospitalized in Lincoln Park on Wednesday.
According to police, the young boy was near the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum on Wednesday afternoon when he was bitten in the face by a coyote.
The boy was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.
According to witnesses, officials at the museum made an announcement to visitors to be careful when leaving the building, as coyotes had been seen nearby.
“Just be aware when walking out to your car,” Holly Domzalski said. “And to keep your distance.”
The attack was just the latest in a string of coyote-related incidents across the area in recent days. On Tuesday an NBC 5 camera crew spotted a coyote running through the Loop, and earlier in the day another coyote had been pulled from Monroe Harbor in Lake Michigan.
Coyotes have also been spotted in Old Town and Lincoln Park in recent weeks.
Animal control officials say that the increased sightings have come as coyotes follow the Chicago River in search of food.
Experts believe coyotes are coming closer to downtown and becoming more aggressive because they’re struggling to find food.
An animal control van was seen patrolling around the site of Wednesday’s attack, hoping to catch the coyote that ran away from the scene after the alleged attack.
“You gotta avoid them,” fisherman Obath Chavez said. “You have to keep your distance.”
Experts from Chicago's Animal Care and Control have several suggestions for residents who encounter coyotes.
Making loud noises, or using a whistle, is a good way to spook a coyote into leaving. Waving your hands and jumping up and down can also work, according to experts.
Experts advise that residents keep their dogs on short leashes, to allow your pet to hide behind you if they encounter a coyote.
Finally, homeowners are encouraged not to leave garbage out in the open at their homes, as it could potentially encourage coyotes to seek out their yards as a food source.