CHICAGO (CBS) — DNA tests have confirmed an injured coyote captured last week in Lincoln Park is the same animal that bit a 6-year-old boy on the head one day earlier near the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
Chicago Animal Care and Control officials said they also confirmed the coyote had been shot in the chest with a BB gun, which likely explains why it was limping when it was caught, and why it had been acting aggressively.
Additional medical tests found no signs suggesting the coyote has rabies, but additional testing will be done to make sure it doesn’t have any dangerous diseases or viruses.
The coyote is now in the care of the Barrington-based Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
“We want to thank our city, county, state and federal partners for their resources and support during the successful and safe capture of the coyote,” Chicago Animal Care and Control officials said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
The coyote was caught on Jan. 9, after CACC inspectors responded to calls of an injured coyote on the 1700 block of North Dayton Street. CACC inspectors used a tranquilizer dart to capture the coyote.
One day earlier, a coyote bit a 6-year-old boy “multiple times” on the head while with his nanny near the nature museum in Lincoln Park. The boy was running up the hill when the coyote attacked, according to Ald. Michele Smith (43rd). The boy may have accidentally gotten too close to the animal, Smith said the day after the attack.
Two runners from the DePaul University track team were running nearby, and helped kick the animal away before the boy was rushed to the hospital.
The boy was treated at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
In recent weeks, several coyotes have been spotted walking the streets of the North Side, from Lincoln Park to Old Town and the old Cabrini-Green area.
While attacks on people are extremely rare, dogs have been targets.
A little more than a week before the boy was attacked, a 5-pound toy poodle puppy named Ki-Ki barely survived a coyote mauling near Burling and Willow streets in Old Town.
The night before that, a Schnauzer named Missy was attacked at Cambridge Avenue and Delaware Place in the Cabrini Rowhouses.
And another coyote spent more than four hours in a yard near North and Clybourn avenues and was caught on video howling. It was one of at least 10 reports of coyotes phoned into Chicago Animal Care and Control in the past week.
Coyotes also recently have been spotted on Elm Street near Cleveland Avenue – where a man said a coyote chased him and his dog – as well as near the Whole Foods at 1550 N. Kingsbury St., and the Pottery Barn just the other side of North Avenue, among other places.
Experts say coyotes have found ways to adapt to city life because there is food for them in the city such as rodents.
“In general, coyotes are adapting to cities. They’re doing better and better over time as they learn how to make use of these urban landscapes that we’ve created,” said Seth Magle of the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute. “I feel confident in saying I think that their numbers are generally on the upswing.”
The city says its coyote calls totaled about 268 in 2017. That number that dropped to roughly 146 by 2018, and then rose again to 331 for most of 2019. But those numbers could reflect multiple calls for the same coyote.
The Humane Society advises that if you see a coyote, you should not run or turn your back. You should instead shout or throw something in the coyote’s direction, in what is called hazing.
If the coyote does not respond to hazing, it may have been fed by someone or found trash left out. Use caution, as the coyote could be aggressive.
Officials said there is no evidence that there is a larger coyote population in the city, but there is an increase in sightings.