Project Overview: Ghosts of the city

Originally known as ghosts of the plains, coyotes have now become ghosts of the cities, occasionally heard but less often seen. With the exception of a few individuals, coyotes have largely learned to avoid us. Though a relatively recent phenomenon, coyotes are the top carnivores in an increasing number of metropolitan areas across North America. This includes one of the largest urban centers in the Midwest — the Chicago metropolitan region.

Have there been coyote bites or attacks on humans in the Chicago area?

No, there has not been a single coyote bite or attack reported on humans in northeastern Illinois. Recent media reports of coyote bites (a 49 year old man in Aurora and a 3 year old child in Columbus Park) were later proven instead to have been the result of domestic dogs. Domestic dog bites are far more common than bites by wild animals.

Avoid coyote conflicts

Do not feed coyotes

Confrontations with urban coyotes sometimes occur but can often be avoided. Here are a few simple guidelines to reduce conflicts:

  1. Do not feed coyotes
  2. Don't let pets run loose or be unattended
  3. Don't run from a coyote
Habitat of Coyote 748

An ultimate, urban animal, Coyote 748 was fitted with a GPS-style tracking collar in the Bronzeville area of Chicago on February 24, 2014. At his capture, it was obvious he was of breeding age and once a few radio-locations were collected, we realized we had collared a resident coyote with an established territory. He seemed to go about his daily routine in a low-profile fashion, taking to the busy streets nightly without fail. In April, his normal quiet behavior turned aggressive towards dogs as people walked their pets through a specific area.