NYPD, park officials offer tips after coyote sightings in Central Park

CENTRAL PARK, Manhattan (WABC) -- The NYPD is advising New Yorkers on what to do if they see a coyote after recent sightings in Central Park, though the Department of Parks says there have been no reports of coyote-related injuries.

Park officials say that since 2016, they have received 80 reported coyote sightings city-wide through the WildlifeNYC website. This year, there have been 10 reported sightings in Manhattan.

They stressed that these reports are not confirmation of 80 individual coyotes being spotted, but that they are reported sightings and likely multiple reports were for the same coyote.

The NYPD Central Park precinct sent out a tweet on Monday reminding people not to feed the animals.

Anyone who encounters a coyote is asked to only observe them from a distance and keep all pets safe.

If approached by a coyote, police say you should make yourself look bigger by putting your arms up and make loud noises.

Park officials say that a person who crosses paths with any wildlife in New York City should respect them the same way you would any other New Yorker and give them plenty of space.

If you see a wild animal, report the sighting to the WildlifeNYC website. Only call 911 to report wildlife sightings if there is a clear threat to public safety.

The city's Wildlife Unit has been doing outreach in the surrounding areas to educate the public on coyotes and help to promote co-existence.

More tips on co-existing with coyotes in NYC:
--Do not feed coyotes. Keeping coyotes wild is the key to coexistence. Feeding coyotes can cause them to lose their natural hunting instincts and cause coyotes to associate humans with food.
--Observe and appreciate coyotes from a distance. Though they may look similar to dogs, coyotes are wild animals. The best way to ensure both your safety and the safety of the coyote is to keep your distance.
--Protect your pets. Walk dogs on a leash and keep cats inside for safety. Do not allow your pets to play with or approach coyotes.
--Keep coyotes wary. If you are approached, make yourself look bigger by putting your arms up, and make loud noises until the coyote retreats.

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