Coyote attacks 6-year-old girl near San Francisco. Is human behavior the cause?

Humans increasingly continue to invade and disrupt the habitat of native animals. These animals are doing what comes natural. They are protecting their living space.

Two weeks ago walking my dog before going to bed I came upon a Coyote at my corner. It was a very peaceful encounter.  The Coyote looked at me. I looked at the Coyote who proceeded on its way towards the seashore in San Francisco.

This incident is deplorable. The young girl is traumatized. Still it will not be the appropriate response to capture and kill these native creatures which have lived in the Bay Area longer than humans.

As the Shelter in Place continues it is to be expected that humans will continue to encroach upon these native habitats. Fortunately the State has banned cars in the Parks. This should mitigate the problem and allow the native creatures to live in peace.

San Francisco Chronicle 4.1.2020

A coyote attacked a 6-year-old girl in Dublin Hills Regional Park on Wednesday, biting her neck and ear before the girl’s mother rushed in and scared the predator away.

The incident occurred about 2:30 p.m., as the girl was hiking with her mother and two brothers. The coyote jumped on her and “went for her head,” said Capt. Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

As of 5:30 p.m. the girl was being treated for non-life-threatening injuries in UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, Foy said. Crews from Fish and Wildlife are laying traps and hoping to euthanize the coyote, along with two other coyotes that lingered nearby when it bit the girl. Officials closed the park while a multiagency effort is under way to find the offending animals, which could be identified by DNA that was taken from the victim’s clothing, said Doug Bell, wildlife program manager for the East Bay Regional Park District.

He recounted the family’s harrowing ordeal to The Chronicle. A pack of coyotes had approached the three children and their mother as they hiked through a shallow canyon in the 654-acre park that’s sandwiched between two housing developments.

Like all Bay Area parks, Dublin Hills has its share of coyotes. Some of them gravitate to the periphery, scouring for food around the town houses that line the park’s borders, Bell said.

“Being at that interface between parkland and urban development, the neighborhoods present a lot of food for coyotes,” Bell said. He noted that these wild animals are drifting into various residential parts of the Bay Area, including San Francisco.

A screenshot from a video taken by a POST wildlife camera shows a coyote and a badger traveling together into a tunnel in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Photo: Screenshot from video / Peninsula Open Space Trust

State and regional park officials have seen a string of other attacks in recent weeks, Foy said, as more people flock to parks to get exercise during the shelter-in-place period. He received a call Friday about a coyote going after a dog, and he heard reports of another aggressive coyote in San Diego.

“We’ve seen a pretty significant influx of people into these places, and that’s meant calls for service,” Foy said.

Still, attacks on people are rare, Bell said. He has served as wildlife program manager since 2005, and has never seen a coyote pounce on a human. Usually, they go after dogs — particularly those that are not wearing leashes. Sometimes, coyotes approach humans who feed them, which presents problems for park officials who want people and animals to enjoy the park without confrontations.

Bell did not know if food was involved in this case.

“I can’t imagine the trauma that the poor child and her family has gone through,” he said.

Mountain lions may also be a threat for people heading to parks and nature trails. In January, mountain lions attacked young children in Santa Clara County and Orange County. Both children were injured; both mountain lions were chased away by parents and later captured and euthanized.