March 22, 2006

Wily coyote on the run in New York’s Central Park

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A wild coyote was on the run in New
York's Central Park on Wednesday, pursued by police and park
authorities on foot and in a helicopter.

The coyote, thought to have made its way to the city from
the countryside to the north, was cornered near a nature
sanctuary in the southeastern section of the 843-acre
(341-hectare) park but escaped, parks spokeswoman Carli Smith

"It is back on the run, running north in Central Park,"
Smith said.

Television stations showed footage from a helicopter of
police and park rangers running through the park on Tuesday in
pursuit of the animal which has been hunting ducks and other
birds, leaving piles of feathers in its wake.

"Our thought is that it came in from Westchester County and
then came south through the Bronx before getting to the park,"
Smith said, adding that the last time a coyote was spotted in
the park was in 1999.

"They're not a threat," she said. "They typically avoid
human interaction."

The animal was first spotted early on Sunday and was seen
again on Tuesday, when emergency services and park authorities
launched a full-scale search.

Authorities hope to track it down and capture it using
tranquilizer darts, and it will be taken to a nature
conservancy area in upstate New York, Smith said.

The landscaped park, in the heart of Manhattan, includes
reservoirs, a zoo and wilderness areas, offering plenty of
cover for a coyote.