SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Coyotes have become an increasingly common sight in certain San Francisco neighborhoods, but one animal being spotted regularly in an unusual location is raising concerns for some.
There are signs all over this pathway in Telegraph Hills Pioneer Park warning people that coyotes are common. A KPIX 5 photographer ran into a coyote out walking Wednesday morning that has already earned a reputation for not being camera shy.
Some in the area around Coit Tower revere her.
“We like having her here,” said area resident Ryan Rudin.
But others speak of the animal who has become known as Callie the Coyote regard her with fear.
“We have friends that are like afraid to go out at night,” said neighbor Karen Gemmill.
Regardless of how residents might feel about her presence, Callie has become a well-known neighbor on Telegraph Hill.
Callie has been roaming the area for several years now.
Rudin said his dogs Rocky and Madix have developed something of a relationship with her.
“A weird Disney-like movie dynamic, but it’s real life in San Francisco,” explained Rudin.
KPIX cameras were able to capture some video of Callie Wednesday, clips that made it obvious her fear of humans has disappeared.
“I have heard there are residents and transients that are feeding her,” said Jonathan Young, a wildlife ecologist with the Presidio Trust
Young says humans getting too comfortable with coyotes puts the animals’ lives at risk.
“It usually leads to situations where lethal removal is the only option,” said Young.
He said instead humans need to start hazing these animals to remind them that people are a threat.
“Eye contact, lunge, yell. If you feel comfortable, you can throw things at them, not to hurt but to scare,” advised Young.
Urban coyotes now populate many parks in San Francisco. Callie isn’t the only one with a fan club. Carl the Coyote in Buena Vista Park even has a Facebook page.
People are regularly getting too close to these animals.
Rudin said even the video taken Wednesday shows a change in Callie’s behavior.
“Last year, you wouldn’t get that close. She would’ve ran away. Now she’s not doing that,” said Rudin.
Those who cultivate friendships with the animals should also be warned: feeding coyotes on park land can result in being fined $196. Feeding a coyote on a city street could lead to a fine of more than $1,000.