SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Federal wildlife officials tracked down and euthanized an aggressive coyote Friday who had charged toddlers on five separate occasions while they visited the San Francisco Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park.
Officials with the San Francisco Animal Care & Control and the Recreation & Park Department had become alarmed by the coyote’s escalating erratic behavior so they called in the federal wildlife experts to evaluate the situation.
“Federal officials acted after determining the coyote had become a serious threat to public safety,” city officials said in a news release.
Officials did not say if any of the youngsters were injured in the incidents.
The coyote had been “consistently and illegally fed by people and had lost its natural fear of humans,” according to officials.
“It saddens us that this outcome was 100 percent caused by humans feeding and befriending this animal,” said said Virginia Donohue, Executive Director of Animal Care & Control. “We implore people to stop feeding wild animals.”
Among the food left out for the coyote included platters of meat, according to officials. Last week, two dozen bagels were purposely left out. The food was left out despite signs all over the park urging visitors not to feed the animals.
“I appreciate that they think they’re helping – they’re not helping,” Donohue told KPIX 5. “There’s no food shortage for coyotes in San Francisco. There’s food all over the joint. There’s gophers, there’s moles.”
Parkgoers were disappointed that the coyote had to be put down because of human interference.
“If there’s a lesson to be learned, it would be to observe the do not feed the animal signs here and throughout the city,” said Ken Ichi of San Francisco.