LAFAYETTE (KPIX 5) — A variety of federal, state and local agencies are currently cooperating in a massive effort to find and capture an aggressive coyote that has bitten five people in the East Bay since July of last year.
Authorities on Tuesday confirmed the latest attack — reported on Friday, February 19 — was linked to the same coyote that has bitten four other people in the East Bay since last summer.
DNA of the coyote taken from the other victims’ wounds matched the latest sample from a man attacked on Friday night outside a Lafayette convenience store.
That attack happened just three days after a three-year-old girl was attacked as she walked with her mother along a neighborhood street in Moraga.
“In 24 years, an attack like this is rare. But fast-forward to 2020-21, now a rogue coyote attacking five people,” said California Fish and Wildlife Game Warden Patrick Foy.
Padded leg hold traps have been deployed with bait by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Other agencies involved in the search include the police departments of Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda. All are now working together to hunt down the elusive serial biter.
With permission from owners of private property in the nearby area, federal wildlife experts are now placing more than a dozen traps to capture the elusive coyote.
“Coyotes are very difficult to trap. They’re very intelligent and have a reputation of being smart and it’s well deserved,” said Foy.
Locals in Contra Costa County told KPIX they have grown more cautious when outdoors because of the attacks.
“At any given time we’re prepared, because it’s a possibility now. Scary,” said Lafayette resident Melinda Allen.
Since last July, two young children have been attacked, including a 2-year old in a parking lot.
“I would run away maybe, and not be scared if he attacks me,” said Lafayette resident Nick Allen.
Authorities say the plan is to euthanize the coyote if they’re able to capture it, and then test it for rabies.
“Residents of this community need to be advised that there’s an aggressive single animal that’s bitten five people,” said Foy.
If you encounter a coyote, Foy says to remain calm, stay put, and avoid running away since it can trigger a chase.
Throwing rocks in the direction of the coyote could also help and prevent an attack.
Residents can also visit www.keepmewild.org for information on coyote safety, including tips on how to reduce the potential for coyote conflicts.