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Coyotes continue to prowl Longboat

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Longboat’s elusive coyote continues its wily wanderings.

Several weeks ago, the sightings started at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church where the reportedly healthy-looking coyote was witnessed by both residents and Longboat Key Police slinking along the woods that are on the eastern edge of the property.

A coyote was also witnessed wandering among the dilapidated buildings of the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort. This past week, a flurry of sightings were called in to the island’s police force.

The first sighting of last week was reported at 9:29 a.m. on Aug. 4 when the police were called in reference to coyote that was seen near Harry’s Continental Kitchen at 525 St. Judes Drive. The police could not locate any coyote and Sgt. Smith conducted no further investigation.

Less than one hour later, Officer Nagell received a call that a coyote was seen in the 500 block of Tarawitt Drive, which is located just north of the previous sighting.

The sightings continued on the fourth, with another caller describing a coyote along the 5600 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive, in the same vicinity of the other two sightings. This time, the police did observe a coyote in an open field running and then dashing into a wooded area.

Later that day, Officer Nagell checked the area along Jungle Queen Way as a follow up on another call and he said he could see the coyote lying in the shade. He reported that although there were numerous calls, none described rabid behavior or aggression, and that case was closed.

The behavior of the coyote is critical to how the town responds. Police Chief Pete Cumming says that the town has no intent to either capture or euthanize the animal. Cumming said that it does not appear to impose a threat and the issue is more one of education of the residents than hunting down a threat.

That said, the sightings continued. On Aug. 8, resident Missy Erickson called in a report from Bay Isles Harbourside and said that she tried to scare the coyote away by yelling and waving her arms. However, according to Officer Connors, “the coyote was not entertained by the complainant and kept to himself.”

Officers Connor and Nagell and Sgt. Schoepfer all responded to the scene where they saw the coyote about 100 yards away at the edge of a wood line along the Harbourside Golf Course. The coyote was not causing a nuisance, said Connors, and it ran off without incident.

Longboat Key Club maintenance employee Steven Patterson also advised the police of a coyote sighting on the golf course on Aug. 8.

A bite at education

To quell residents’ fears and educate them about the most recent addition to Longboat’s wild habitat, the town of Longboat Key is holding a coyote workshop at 1 p.m. on Aug. 30 in Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Rd. The presentation will focus on:

• what to do if you see a coyote

• how to safeguard yourself, children and pets from coyotes

• how to prevent problems with coyotes

• how to limit attracting coyotes to your property

• nuisance coyotes in residential neighborhoods

• answers to your questions

For those unable to attend the coyote clinic, the entire presentation will be videotaped and posted at www.longboatkey.org

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