JOSHUA TREE RESIDENTS REPORTING MORE AGGRESSIVE COYOTE BEHAVIOR

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The spring weather can bring an increase in wildlife activity, especially coyotes. A Joshua Tree woman says that her last few interactions with the coyotes in her neighborhood has her changing her habits.

MAUREEN MORRIS:

(Dogs barking) – Come in, quick…”

ROBERT HAYDON:

Maureen Morris is 75 years old and lives with her two dogs in the upper Friendly Hills of Joshua Tree. Her house sits adjacent to open desert with washes that run all the way to the bordering hills of the national park – so she’s used to seeing all sorts of wildlife in the 21 years she’s lived here. Whenever she would see coyotes on her walks – a hand clap or yell would usually be enough to move them along.

But the last few times she has run into coyotes on her evening walks, they seemed less afraid of her and didn’t scatter as easily. She walks a regular route on the dirt roads that surround her property up near Onaga and Vista – and a pack of three coyote approached Mrs. Morris – with one continuing to walk toward despite her upgraded deterrents. 

MAUREEN MORRIS:

“When I saw them…  I have a really loud whistle (and) I did the siren. It kept advancing (even though) I’m waving and yelling.”

ROBERT: But it didn’t work, and that coyote ended up following her at a distance she estimates to be as close as 50 feet.

MAUREEN MORRIS:

“Just one was advancing and I had to turn around because I was always facing them. I had to turn around to get up the hill to get home FAST. And these two dogs just as you walked in were hysterical”

ROBERT HAYDON:

While Maureen’s two dogs are both on the smaller side, she says she’s aware that they can be a draw to coyotes so they are always on a leash or in a stroller (even though) it’s never been a problem in years past. While spring is a more active season for wildlife, and coyotes do tend to hunt more in the mornings and evenings; this is the first time she’s ever had one approach or follow her.

Mrs. Morris contacted Fish and Wildlife and reported the increased activity, who said they would send a Park Ranger out to investigate the area. In the meantime, these last few run-ins with the neighborhood coyotes have changed her walking habits for the first time since she’s moved here.

VO MAUREEN MORRIS:

“I’m not one to be afraid. I’m cautious, I’m aware. You know – you live in the desert. After these three episodes – I’m terrified actually – because I don’t know what to do.”

Link: California Department of Fish & Wildlife – Help Keep Coyotes Out of Your Neighborhood

Link: Z107.7FM – Coyotes More Active in Spring, How to Avoid Interaction