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When students are away, the coyotes come out to play

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

There have been various coyote sightings at Valley College within the past school year.

By Meg Taylor, News Editor

Valley College’s campus has recently been a hot spot for coyotes, mirroring what is happening all over California with wild animals looking for new prey.

The coyotes were first noticed approximately six to eight months ago. They are typically seen in the early morning or late evening when students are in class and campus is quiet. According to the sheriff’s office, students are feeding the stray cats on campus, which is in turn, attracting the coyotes to campus.

“If students see a coyote on campus, they should avoid the animal,” said Mike Lee, vice president of Administrative Services. “Students can help deter the coyotes from campus by making sure to throw all trash in trash cans, and not feeding any wildlife on campus.”

According to the City of Los Angeles Department of Animal Services, coyotes are protected and it is illegal to trap and relocate them. However, they will step in if there is an emergency situation where the coyotes are posing a threat to humans. While many people are scared of these animals, coyotes by nature are fearful of humans. To date, there have been no coyote attacks on campus.

“I saw it behind the Health and Sciences Center at 8:15 p.m.,” said Joseph Gonzalez, 21-year-old Valley student. “I saw it coming towards me, quickly. I thought maybe it was a stray dog so I went towards it. As I got closer I realized it was a coyote and I stopped. It continued to run past me.”

The pointy-eared, bushy-tailed, beady-eyed dingo is commonly mistaken as a dog or wolf. Valley is just the latest destination for the wandering creatures. Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Echo Park and Silver Lake are only some of the other areas that have reported numerous coyote sightings within the past year. Malibu residents have reported several animal attacks over the past few years, many resulting in deaths. Coyotes often zone in on certain areas in search of food and unfortunately that includes beloved pets.

“When things start drying up in the hills, they’ll come into more urban areas,” says Terris Kasteen, a biologist from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “They are coming in for the potential food from landscaping. They get drawn in because of that and if they’re finding a lot of food, they end up staying.”

To prevent unpleasant coyote interactions, the CDFW suggests that people never feed or attempt to tame coyotes. If you are followed by a coyote, make loud noises. If this does not scare the coyote away, throw rocks in the animal’s direction. If a coyote attacks a person, immediately contact the nearest Department of Fish and Wildlife or law enforcement office. If you see an attack on campus, dial 2911 from any campus phone to reach the sheriff’s department or call (818) 947-2911.

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