Coyote in SOMA of San Francisco

Coyote in downtown San Francisco

A few days ago, this little coyote was spotted at Third and Folsom, South of Market, near Moscone Center, right in the heart of San Francisco’s downtown, and right during hustle-and-bustle prime time: it must have been pretty scary with all those people, cars, and trollies, and with all the activity and noise. The coyote had either taken a wrong route or run out of time in her/his journey, because now it was daylight and the city’s downtown was filling up with activity.

Photo: courtesy ACC

We’ve seen coyotes up on buildings in the downtowns of various large cities, including New York. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens, and each time it makes headlines. In addition to its serving as an escape from all the noise and activity at street level, a building provides an *up*. In the wild they often seek out high points from which to survey their territories and to see what the lay of the land is. This coyote may have been looking for a higher spot as a means of finding her way out of the situation in which she found herself.

I don’t know this particular coyote, but I can take a guess at what was going on. If she/he had been dispersed from a nearby territory (coyotes may be dispersed at anytime of the year), as she moved away from her home territory, she could have become caught up in our labyrinthine downtown which has no thickets to hide in.  Coyotes live in our parks and in the larger green/open spaces of the city. ACC would not have been able to return her to where she/he came from because, 1) no one knew for sure where she/he came from, and 2) dispersed youngsters will not be welcomed back to the place they were harshly driven from.

So, for the first time, probably, the animal was on its own and needed to find its way out of the city. Most coyote territorial niches are already occupied within the city, so where could she go? South of the city is where the ecologist for the Presidio, Jonathan Young, has found several of San Francisco’s dispersed coyotes which he had radio-collared. Dispersion is a hazardous time for coyotes and a time when their survival is at high risk.

Potential problems, besides a few fearful people, were dehydration and being hit by a car. Water, in fact, can be found all over the the city from spigots, etc, so the real danger is from traffic.  Come nighttime, she would have moved on, but a full day is a long time to sit up on a building. ACC hurried the process along by clearing traffic down a street, which gave the coyote a way out. It is always best to allow coyotes to find their own way — possibly with a little help as was offered by ACC. Thank you, ACC!

Deb Campbell of ACC wrote me, “We were trying to get the coyote (a crowd had gathered, and our original plan to wait until nightfall was not going to work), but it slipped away and ran down Folsom Street towards First Street. The police had stopped traffic, so it had a cleared escape route. We looked, but couldn’t find it, and we’re hoping that s/he made it back to a green space.” Deb generously supplied me with this photo.

San Francisco, with the help of ACC and RPD, promotes coexistence through education: we are one of the most progressive cities in this respect (in fact, in many respects).  ACC is here to help with sticky situations such as this one . And, of course, they have their hands full with every imaginable animal contingency in the city, for instance, now they’re busy looking for the pit-bull who last week mauled a leashed chihuahua. Our animal residents keep ACC occupied.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bobbie Pyron
    Dec 14, 2017 @ 00:46:24

    Poor little pup! I hope he/she finds some friends to help him find his way home.

    Reply

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Dec 14, 2017 @ 07:19:24

      He/she found her way out of that situation — he/she has not been seen again. It would have had to be the right type of friend, say a wise owl, a raven and a hedgehog, maybe? :))

  2. Cindie
    Dec 14, 2017 @ 01:53:27

    Wow! What a photo and story. I didn’t realize SF had organizations like ACC and RPD who promote coexistence. That is so awesome. I love it that the police stopped traffic. Reminds me of that classic children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings.” I hope the little coyote finds a home.

    Reply

  3. H Snow
    Dec 14, 2017 @ 15:59:07

    I hope he/she made it safely to a better location. Love our wild SF!

    Reply

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