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The Daily Tar Heel

Coyote sightings up in Carrboro in recent months

It’s not unusual to see coyotes in this area, said Jodie Owen, public information director of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

“They’re in all 100 counties in N.C. and they live in many towns,” she said.

Owen said increased urbanization and encroachment into coyote habitats is driving them into urban areas.

“The North Carolina population is booming and the more people who come into the state, the more houses that need to be built up, schools that need to be built, roads and other infrastructure like that to support a growing population,” she said.

Geriann Albers, Wildlife Resources Commission furbearer biologist, said a coyote’s adaptability is what allows the species to thrive in urban areas.

“Coyotes are really good at using small, green spaces in urban areas and they take advantage of the abundant sources of food, like unsecured garbage and larger populations of mice, rabbits, and squirrels that live in people’s yards,” she said.

Although the commission doesn’t keep any estimates on local or statewide populations of coyotes, they use sightings and other surveys to keep track of any trends indicating an increase in the coyote population, Albers said.

One of the coyote spotters is Board of Aldermen member Bethany Chaney.

“I had one run right by my house a couple of weeks ago, probably in search of chicken,” Chaney said. “Right now I don’t see any reason to be concerned, just mindful.”

Chaney said that the town is working with Orange County and the police to keep Carrboro residents aware and respectful of their furry neighbors.

“We want wild things to be wild and we want human beings to be respectful of that,” Chaney said. “I think we alerted Orange County and the police department to the issue to make sure that folks continue to receive information through the media so they know how to behave when they see a (coyote).”

As long as humans don’t attempt to acclimate coyotes to our environment, there shouldn’t be a problem, she said.

“I think it’s an opportunity for humans to come into a relationship again with wild animals, get back to our wild selves,” said Board of Aldermen member Sammy Slade. “We just want people to be educated and be aware what to do or what not to do around them so we can respect each other’s spaces.”

However, Slade admits that chicken owners, like himself, are losing their animals to other predatory creatures like owls and raccoons.

“We’re constantly losing our chickens, so it’s like an arms race of building a better fence,” he said.


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