FRISCO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Frisco is launching a new, interactive map designed to help track coyote sightings.
Frisco is asking the public to report coyote sightings by inputting data here.
The map link is also available on the city’s myFRISCO app under ‘online services’. Residents can download myFrisco in your app store.
The city announced in a news release Wednesday evening, Frisco Animal Services will use the information from this crowdsourcing effort to identify coyote territories, travel patterns and places where unusually aggressive animals have been spotted. Public sightings will immediately be pinpointed on the map, available for public viewing.
The map will display a month’s worth of data and be regularly updated. Confirmed attacks on people and pets will remain on the map until further notice.
“We need the public’s help to track sightings, so we can better concentrate our efforts on specific locations,” said Chief John Bruce, Frisco Police Department. “As Frisco builds out, we’ll continue to encounter coyotes and other wildlife. We need to get along with these animals; they were here first. That’s why we’re working with experts to learn how to avoid up close interactions and know what to do if we experience an aggressive animal.”
Several known coyote attacks and incidents of aggressive coyotes have been reported in Frisco since October.
The first report involved a passing driver who prevented an aggressive animal from attacking a pedestrian by honking.
The next month, a Frisco police officer prevented another attack using his siren; in that instance, the officer’s ‘dash camera’ captured video of the coyote stalking the jogger.
In a separate attack, a 9-year-old child was treated for minor injuries. In December, two other women suffered injuries after being attacked while jogging. In a separate incident, a coyote bit a small dog walking off-leash through its neighborhood. In all cases, the attacks happened during early morning hours, between 6 – 8:30 a.m. All of the cases happened along – or near – a stretch of Eldorado Parkway, between Granbury Drive and Rogers Road.
Since October, Frisco has enlisted help from experts with Texas Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Frisco has also contracted with trappers, who are helping remove aggressive animals. Those animals have been tested for rabies; in all cases, tests are negative.
“That’s telling us the animals aren’t rabid, after all, but aggressive,” said Chief Bruce.
Animal Services officers offer tips to help people and pets live with wildlife. Steven Lerner, Animal Services Supervisor, carries a standard whistle and tennis ball so he’s always prepared to scare an animal, if necessary. Mace, rocks, sticks or air horns are other types of tools that can be used to scare coyotes. “Make noise and make yourself appear ‘big’ if you see a coyote,” said Lerner.
But Lerner emphasizes the city cannot remove all coyotes. “We can’t just eradicate all coyotes in the city,” said Lerner. “That wouldn’t help us in any way. It would actually disrupt our ecosystem and attract more migrating coyotes, looking to claim new territories.”
Other safety tips for ‘living with wildlife’ include:
· Avoid walking or jogging in areas known to be frequented by aggressive coyotes. This tip is for pets, too.
· Walk all pets on leash – it’s city law. It will also help you control your pet if you come upon wildlife.
· Listen for potential predators. We recommend one ear be ‘earbud’ free. It may help you beware of an animal — or person — who may be stalking you.
· Do not feed wildlife.
· Keep trash picked up, secure in containers. Overflowing bins, particularly those with food remnants, attract wildlife looking for ‘easy’ food sources.
· Do not leave pet food outdoors, unattended. Pet food attracts small wildlife (squirrels, rabbits) which may attract larger wildlife (coyotes, bob cats) naturally able to jump over high fences.
· Pick up dropped bird seed, daily. If you use bird feeders, pickup seed knocked to the ground which attracts small wildlife.
· Report all coyote sightings. Use the City of Frisco’s new interactive map at FriscoTexas.gov/Coyote or call the Police Department’s non-emergency number at 972-292-6010. Call 9-1-1 for attacks or any aggressive animal sighting.
Wildlife experts add, a ‘coyote roller’ is another tool homeowners can purchase and install atop fences to keep coyotes and other wildlife out of their backyards. A variety of ‘rollers’ are searchable on the internet.
Biologists say coyotes are typically more visible to the public during mating season, which typically happens during winter months. Uncharacteristic weather patterns may be impacting animal habits. Experts also add, all metropolitan cities, nationwide, have coyote populations – so learning to live with animals is key.
“It’s very important that we keep our neighborhoods picked up and clean,” said Adam Henry, urban biologist, Texas Wildlife Services Program. “Coyotes are very intelligent. They’ll remember rewards and return to places where they find really good meals.”
Experts advise it’s a good habit to pick up any trash inadvertently left behind in alleyways by on our trash collection days.