DNA confirms injured coyote captured in Lincoln Park as animal connected to 6-year-old boy bitten, series of sightings

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A coyote captured on Chicago's North Side last week has been confirmed to be the same animal involved in an attack with a 6-year-old boy in Lincoln Park, according to Chicago Animal Care and Control.

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The CACC said they were initially alerted of an injured and aggressive coyote on January 6, at which point teams began investigating sighting around the city.

Chicago Animal Care and Control crews tranquilized the injured coyote in the 1700 block of North Dayton at around 10:20 p.m. on Jan. 9, after it was spotted behind a row of homes.

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Chicago Animal Care and Control captured a coyote late Thursday in Ranch Triangle after a series of incidents over the last few days in the area.

The coyote was then sent to a local rehabilitation center where it underwent an evaluation and DNA testing to determine if it was the same animal that had been reported in a series of incidents in the Lincoln Park and Streeterville areas.

The 6-year-old boy was attacked by the coyote near the lakefront in Lincoln Park on the North Side near the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

RELATED: Child bitten multiple times by coyote in Lincoln Park, police say
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A young boy was bitten multiple times by a coyote in Lincoln Park Wednesday afternoon, Chicago police said.

The child was bitten multiple times at about 4 p.m. in the 2400 block of North Cannon Drive, according to police.

Police said the boy was walking with a caretaker near when he was bitten on the head multiple times.

"The child went up towards the hill and it was reported that the coyote was in the grassy prairie area and then came out and came face-to-face with the child," said CACC Executive Director Kelley Gandurski.

Gandurski said the boy's caretaker and two Good Samaritans fought the coyote off.

She also said coyotes are an important part of the urban ecosystem, preying on small rodents, and typically do not want contact with people.

In the Streeterville incident, a 32-year-old man told police the coyote came up from behind and bit him Wednesday evening.

Police said the man was walking in the 700-block of North Fairbanks Court at the time.

A full veterinary medical diagnosis, as well as daily observations, lead officials to believe there were no signs suggestive of rabies. However, they said the animal will undergo further testing to ensure it does not have any dangerous diseases or viruses.

"Coyotes are common throughout the Chicagoland area and protected under the Illinois Wildlife Code. Residents should always take caution if they encounter a coyote and notify CACC by calling 311. It remains extremely rare for a coyote to approach or bite a person," CACC said in a statement.

Coyote experts warned that the recent coyote attacks may indicate highly abnormal behavior.
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Experts are warning that recent coyote attacks on Chicago's North Side may indicate highly abnormal behavior.

Coyotes normally perform an important role in the Chicago area to help control rodent, deer and Canada goose populations. They've long been part of life in Chicago and they're protected by the state.

But Chris Anchor, a wildlife biologist with the Urban Coyote Project, said something changes with human interaction.

"If you feed coyotes, it breaks down social behavior. What you end up with is extended family groups coming together, instead of defending territory, feeding on wild things," Anchor said.

"They start for some reason to look at young children," he added.

According to the Urban Coyote Project, about 1,000 coyotes are tagged and tracked in Chicago, and an estimated 2,000 in Cook County.

A look at the city's database of coyote complaints shows a steady increase since July 2019, with more calls this January than any other month last year. But a majority were tied to the most recent incidents.

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The reported coyote attacks on humans across Chicago's North Side could be the first in over a decade, if ever, in the area, Animal Care and Control officials said Thursday.

CACC is assisting police with the investigation into the attacks and other coyotes sightings.

Four to five coyotes were also reportedly spotted last week outside of a school near Cleveland Avenue and Division Street, authorities said.

The agency posted a warning on social media about coyote sightings in city neighborhoods.

"While it is extremely rare for a coyote to approach or bite a person, residents should take caution if they encounter a coyote and notify Chicago Animal Care and Control by calling 311," the agency said in a statement.

CACC said if you encounter a coyote you should do everything possible to not engage, but if you must engage then your voice is your best weapon.

"It's really the same thing with grizzly bears, they tell you to make yourself bigger, stand taller, wave your arms around, that will scare them away. It's called hazing," Gandurski said.

Officials said the captured coyote will remain at a local wildlife rehabilitation center.
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