Coyote Captured on Upper West Side

Photo by Christopher Sadowski as seen in The New York Post

Photo by Christopher Sadowski. Visit The New York Post for more of Mr. Sadowski’s photos.

Last night in Manhattan’s Riverside Park, a coyote was captured by the police. As far as I can tell, this is the first coyote sighting in Manhattan since March 2010 when a beautiful young coyote spent about a month in the city. She quickly found her way to Central Park’s Hallett Nature Sanctuary and made her base in that protected acre in the shadow of the Plaza Hotel before being captured down in Tribeca. In 2012, coyote tracks were found in Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights in northern Manhattan, but I can find no report of a sighting.

Coyotes have been resident in the Bronx for some time now. More recently, they seem to have taken up residence in Queens, and in 2012, a coyote was spotted in Staten Island. Manhattan’s coyotes probably come down from the Bronx over one of the bridges at the northern tip of the island or, possibly, by swimming.

Wildlife biologists at the Gotham Coyote Project are currently studying our coyote population, using camera traps to answer the question: “Where in NYC and its surrounding suburbs can you find coyotes?” The Munshi-South Lab is also involved with monitoring the establishment and dispersal of coyotes in NYC. A camera trap captured this gorgeous image.

Camera Trap image from the Munshi-South Lab website.

Camera Trap image of coyote and pups from the Munshi-South Lab website.

Last night’s coyote, a female, resisted arrest, as one hopes any healthy wild animal would do, and led the police on a chase through Riverside Park before being tranquilized and captured in a basketball court. According to the Twitter account of the 24th Precinct, the police had the coyote “corralled inside fenced-in BB court, but so cold out, the tranquilizer in the darts kept freezing!” They had to wait for a second Emergency Services Truck to arrive with “warm darts” as they “wanted to stun it as humanely as possble.”

Police report the animal was unharmed and was taken to Animal Care and Control where it will be examined before being released somewhere outside the city.

Explore posts in the same categories: coyotes, In the City, NYC Parks, Riverside Park, Wildlife/Natural History, Winter

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9 Comments on “Coyote Captured on Upper West Side”


  1. […] 3. Riva the Coyote: Riva, a female coyote spotted last month in the Upper West Side, just wanted shoot some hoops in Riverside Park, but the NYPD “nabbed” her on the basketball court—after having some initial trouble with their tranquilizer darts because it was so cold that the tranquilizer kept freezing. So ended her sojourn in Manhattan. After being checked out by a veterinarian, she was released in the Bronx to feast on Italian sausages and cheese on Arthur Avenue explore a coyote-appopriate wilderness. I suppose I should not be nominating a coyote, because perhaps a coyote and I can never be friends. But I cannot help but admire Riva’s moxie. You can read more about Riva, and about other New York coyotes, on the urban wildlife blog Out Walking the Dog. […]

  2. Georgia Says:

    Thank you for reporting this story. I wonder if she was a part of a group (pack)… I don’t know much about coyote behavior.


    • Georgia, I’ll be writing a follow-up post soon and will try to explore your question a bit. Coyotes are such intriguing animals, and phenomenally adaptable – like some other species that fascinate me: rats, raccoons and … humans.

    • AG Says:

      She’s probably dispersing (“pushed out of the house by her parents) – from The Bronx or Westchester… They can form packs – but usually not. That’s actually how they are able to live close to people. Wolves are very social so they need packs. Generally coyotes have a family unit but males and females both have to leave once they become mature.

  3. AG Says:

    they ended up releasing it in The Bronx. too bad for her she wasn’t smart enough to stay hidden… there was plenty of prey for her to live in the park.


    • I’m not sure smarts are the issue. I’m amazed she was as elusive as she was. I walk in Riverside Park regularly, sometimes even twice daily, and at different hours. It’s such a narrow park, and in winter it’s so bare that you can see across the entire width easily. Not a lot of hiding places in many areas. I sure wish I had been lucky enough to see her. You are certainly right about the prey situation. Plenty of rats and squirrels as well as little rodents like mice and, probably, voles. Yum.

      • AG Says:

        Well generally speaking the ones that are able to thrive in cities are the ones who learn human patterns and remain hidden… Nature is still “survival of the fittest”. For instance in Chicago and Toronto they are able to survive in places just like Riverside Park.

        Yeah – there are probably voles in there… They will also take opposums and raccoons too.. Of course feral cats as well. Like most predators they will take the easiest meal when available.

  4. Riverside Rambler Says:

    Coyote laced up the Jordans and was ready to ball – broke out those hot new streetball moves vs. the NYPD. Upper West, y’all!


    • Riverside Rambler, I have since learned that the coyote was apparently running up & down Riverside Park over a period of two weeks (will post soon). Multiple sightings before the fateful night of capture. How did Riverside ramblers like you & me not see the damn thing?? I am filled with yearning for a sighting that didn’t happen. Ah well.


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