Chicago authorities have captured a coyote, but it's not clear if it's the same one that attacked a 6-year-old boy and a man last week. They've been on the hunt for coyotes in downtown Chicago after the two reported attacks, including one where a couple of runners said they had to scare away a coyote that had bitten a boy on the head.
According to APNews.com, the attacks come amid an increase in reported coyote sightings, including one that prompted the lockdown of two schools.
Based on witness interviews, officials feel confident that the animal that attacked the boy was a coyote, Kelley Gandurski, executive director of the Chicago Animal Care and Control, told reporters.
If true, this would be the state's first recorded attack of a coyote on a human, according to a wildlife biologist with the Urban Coyote Research Project.
“The last several times that this occurred, people reported the same thing, that they were bitten by a coyote, and days and weeks later it turned out through DNA analysis of the victim’s clothing it was, in fact, dogs and not coyotes,” said Chris Anchor, who also works for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, where Chicago is located.
The child was attacked Wednesday while outside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park.
Two DePaul University track team members, who were running nearby when the attack occurred, helped scare the animal away, according to WBBM-TV.
“We just acted. Went over there as fast as we could. Knew something was wrong,” DePaul sophomore Ryan Taylor told the television station. “There was an open CTA bus there. I told him to get on the bus in case the coyote tries to come back for something else.”
DePaul sophomore Dominic Bruce added, “I was just trying to make him happy. I told him you’ll have quite the story for story time when you go back to school."
According to NBC 5 Chicago, a 32-year-old man walked into Northwestern Memorial Hospital Wednesday evening and said he had been walking on the sidewalk in the area when a coyote came from behind and bit him in the buttocks.
Police said the two attacks on Wednesday were related. Video of the scene of the second incident showed a coyote walking through the Streeterville neighborhood with a distinctive limp, as well as Chicago police officers searching for the animal overnight.
The animal captured on the city’s North Side also had a limp. It was chased by police and animal control officials over several city blocks and finally captured near an intersection just after 10 p.m., Thursday, according to WMAQ-TV.
According to the Chicago Tribune, animal control said Friday morning that DNA testing and evaluation of the captured coyote was expected to take a few weeks. An agency spokeswoman said the animal was being taken to a local animal rehabilitation center, where the DNA testing and additional evaluation will occur.
According to the Associated Press, authorities do not believe the coyote has rabies. Dr. Tom Wake, the interim administrator of the Cook County Animal and Rabies Control, said, “There has not been a case of rabies in any other animal except bats since 1954 in Cook County."
Gandurski said the recent increase of coyote sightings in the city may be because of cold weather and a lack of food.
Stephanie Mallory is a mom, a hunter and Realtree’s PR Coordinator. She’s here to deliver an insider’s look at the outdoor business and give her opinion on all things outdoors—whether you asked for it or not.