The Coyote Whisperer, by Shelby Carpenter with Photos by Helena Price


click on photo to be taken to magazine article

I’m honored to be the subject of an article by Shelby Carpenter with photos by Helena Price!

“It’s a cool, breezy evening at a seaside park in San Francisco, and Janet Kessler is on the lookout. We sit quietly among pinecones and dead leaves, staring out over the green space before us. With a thin frame and a mass of brown-gray hair pulled back in a scrunchie, Kessler cuts an almost leonine profile. She’s ready to spring into action at any moment. We wait patiently for one of the more unlikely residents of San Francisco to pay a visit: the coyote.

As we wait and watch, Kessler and I talk about how she has made a name for herself doing just this—tracking urban coyotes in the wilds of San Francisco’s parks. With ample urban green space, the city, it turns out, is the perfect habitat for coyotes. There’s prey, space to build dens, and, most important, a much lower chance of getting shot here than on ranchland. In 2014 alone, the Department of Agriculture killed more than 60,000 coyotes; no such effort to remove coyotes by lethal force exists in San Francisco.

So seven days a week, usually at dawn and dusk, Kessler goes out to watch them. She first became fascinated with the creatures after having a chance encounter . . .” Click here to read on in the March/April issue of Pacific Standard Magazine!

photo by Helena Price

photo by Helena Price


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. EllaDine
    Mar 22, 2016 @ 18:35:27

    Beautiful story and so well deserved. You’re such an inspiration. Please keep up this terribly important work!!!


  2. dearJ
    Mar 25, 2016 @ 16:29:15

    Hi, I wasn’t sure who to report this to:
    I spotted a coyote hanging out at the Coit Tower parking lot on Wednesday morning, approximately 7 AM (before the throngs of tourists). It was being quiet and nonaggressive. Thank you for the website. If I had read it before Wednesday, I would have tried to frighten the coyote off, because it seemed to be very comfortable there, watching at least one dog .

    WP_20160323_07_02_58_Pro (2)
    Stuff from being about.


    • yipps
      Mar 25, 2016 @ 16:52:48

      Hi —

      Thank you for writing. This little coyote lives up at Coit Tower. The best thing that can be done is let anyone and everyone know to stop feeding her — she’s there because she’s been given food and she’s hoping for more. Also, folks are letting their dogs interact with her — this should not be happening. However, there is no need to scare her off unless she actually approaches you or your dog. We have found that if coyotes are simply scared or hazed for no reason except being present, they learn to ignore that treatment, so then when they are approaching and really need to be shooed away, they don’t respond. Please let me know if you have any questions. Also, would you allow me to use your photos, and, if so, do you want credit (if so, what name)? Thank you! Janet

  3. Lee Cline
    Mar 28, 2016 @ 18:11:15

    Happy to see this wonderful article–thank you for all you do, Janet!


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