A coyote has been spotted in Staten Island.
New Jerseyan Nick Mirto saw the coyote in Staten Island’s Freshkills landfill on a recent run to dump a load of soil. Luckily for us, he pulled out his trusty iPhone and snapped the above photo. On previous trips, Mirto has seen herds of white-tailed deer and two red foxes at the site.
How did the coyote get to Staten Island? Well, deer swim across the Arthur Kill from New Jersey, as you can unmistakeably see in this video, taken by a boat captain: Two Deer Swimming To Staten Island. Like deer, coyotes are strong swimmers, and they certainly inhabit New Jersey. You can see in the map below that it’s not terribly far.
Juvenile coyotes often disperse at this time of year, kicked out by parents who are preparing to raise a new litter. Most of the coyotes that have shown up in Manhattan over the past decade or so have been juveniles between one and two years of age. My guess is that the Staten Island coyote, too, is a young animal in search of new territory to call its own.
According to a CUNY Brooklyn website, “The Fresh Kills Landfill covers 2200 acres, can be seen with the naked eye from space and is taller then the Statue of Liberty, at a height of 225 ft.” That’s a mighty big area for a coyote, full of prey. If you can ignore the fact that the landfill is stuffed with toxins, it would seem to be a pretty happy hunting ground for a coyote.
On other New York coyote news, Science Friday just posted a lovely video of the on-going studies being conducted by wildlife biologist Mark Weckel. Studying Coyotes in NYC. The video reveals that a camera trap photo below, which I had guessed was taken in Van Cortland Park, was actually taken in Yonkers.
As I’ve been saying for a couple of years now, coyotes are coming, people. In fact, they’re here.