SUNRISE, Fla. – Cats and ducks are vanishing from Sunrise. Residents believe coyotes are hunting them. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking residents to avoid leaving small children or pets unattended outside.
Coyotes are more active in the spring. The medium-sized canines are more competitive and territorial during the breeding season. Monogamous pairs are protective of their litter of pups. They usually hunt during dusk and dawn.
“We definitely have lots of sightings,” said Colby Baez, of Sunrise. “Before I used to let my animals hang out in my fenced-in backyard by themselves ... I would go inside, but now I make sure I am there with them all the time.”
It’s not just neighborhoods like Tamarac and Weston, just east of the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area, that are having trouble co-existing with the coyotes. Most recently, there was a sighting outside of St. Maurice at Resurrection Catholic Church in Dania Beach.
Some Broward County residents are hiring trappers and want the FWC to do more to keep them out from urban areas. Some residents have installed motion-sensitive lighting and trimmed shrubbery to get rid of potential hiding places.
The FWC has an interactive map that shows coyote encounters in South Florida. Over the last few years, the FWC map shows there have been reports as far east as Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, and Deerfield Beach.
Simon Ackerman, of Sunrise, said he has seen them just wandering around in the street, so he bought a 120+ decibel whistle and a foghorn. He carries them every time he goes out for a walk in the neighborhood.
“We have got to live with them. They were here before us,” Ackerman said. “You just have to take precautions.”
The FWC wants residents to follow these tips to avoid conflicts: Walk dogs on a short leash. Keep pets in enclosed areas. Do not feed coyotes; it is illegal. Secure garbage cans. Clean up pet food and fallen fruit. Secure livestock in predator-resistant enclosures.
To report wildlife law violations, call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 1-888-404-3922.