The Santa Fe National Forest has heard reports of coyote confrontations on some routes located in the Santa Fe area in the past week.
Forest staff reminds residents to be alert to situations for potential wildlife conflicts and learn how to avoid them.
When hiking along trails, be mindful and respectful of the coyote’s habitat by keeping your dog on a leash, which can help keep you and your pet safer.
Per Santa Fe County Ordinance, any dog or other domestic animal within a county park, trail, or open space area shall be restrained by a leash and under the control of a person, unless otherwise posted.
A dog owned by Santa Fe residents, Houston and Alice M. Davis was attacked July 10 by a coyote while Houston and their two dogs were hiking along a service road in the Millennium Lift area.
“One of the dogs was not on a leash and ahead of my husband by about 100 feet when attacked by the coyote,” Alice said. “Our dog will be fine, but people in the area need to be aware of the coyotes. In this particular area, keep your dog on a leash and don’t let your dog’s vaccinations expire if you ever take your dog off the leash.”
Coyotes are found throughout North America and don’t require open space or “wild areas” to survive. In fact, most coyotes within the urban setting are the offspring of generations of coyotes who survived and flourished in urban areas such as Santa Fe.
They eat almost anything, and hunt rodents, fish and deer.
“Because of their fear of humans, people aren’t generally attacked by coyotes,” said Wildlife Program Manager R. William Amy of the Santa Fe National Forest. “Pets, however, could be – especially if the coyote is stressed from being displaced by recent wild fires, drought or is protecting a den of pups in the area.”
The following steps can minimize wildlife encounters and potential conflicts between people, pets and coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, skunks, bears and mountain lions.
- Keep small dogs indoors or in the close presence of an adult
- Do not allow domestic cats to go outdoors
- Keep your dog on a short non-retractable leash and carry a flashlight in morning or evening hours
- Keep yards free from potential shelter such as thick brush and weeds
- Enclose the bottoms of porches and decks
- Eliminate food and water sources, such as fallen fruit and standing water
- Never attempt to feed a wild animal
- Make sure all trash cans are secure and any pet food is kept indoors
- Teach children to avoid animals they don’t know, whether domestic or wild
- Do not approach wild animals. If they appear too close, wave your arms and shout to deter them.
For information regarding the Santa Fe National Forest, call (505) 438-5300 or visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/santafe.