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Barwin blames Downtown coyotes on Longboat Resort

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

In an era of massive development in Downtown Sarasota and redevelopment on Longboat Key, there seems to be a somewhat surreal “Call of the Wild” flitting throughout our neighborhoods.

It started last summer when numerous sightings of coyotes were reported by residents to Longboat Key Police. First, the sighting came from the north end of the Key, near Harry’s Restaurant and St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church, and then later to the south near the site of the former Colony Beach & Tennis Resort.

The sightings and police reaction became somewhat repetitive. In each instance the police would rush to the reported location and generally the coyote had vanished. Soon, residents started taking pictures with cell phones and another videotaped a coyote loitering at the entrance to the Colony.

In reaction, Longboat Key Police and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) made a formal presentation to residents with a series of dos and don’ts and a general message that coyotes tend to not be aggressive and are usually wary of humans.

But now the sightings have spread to neighborhoods throughout Downtown Sarasota including Hudson Bayou, Orange Avenue, as well as Harbor Acres and Laurel Park. Previously, the city received reports of coyotes along Indian Beach north of Fruitville.

Last week, City of Sarasota Manager Tom Barwin opined that the “sightings may have been coyotes displaced from the long-vacant Colony complex when it was recently razed on Longboat Key.”

Barwin said the city is considering holding a Town Hall meeting with a FWC coyote expert who could provide information and answer questions.

The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort was demolished over the past two months with all 237 units cleared and hauled away and last week the final building, the mid-rise, came down.

Barwin is the first public official to attribute the Downtown Coyote sightings to a Colony coyote refugee situation in which the animals are migrating to new habitat.

Although the FWC says coyotes are not a danger to humans, the agency does say that the animals prey on cats and small dogs, especially during dusk and dawn.

Officials maintain the animals are part of the natural Florida habitat and the police departments on both Longboat Key and Sarasota say there have been no instances of attacks or biting of humans.

The FWC says the best way to combat the issue is simply through education.

The town of Longboat Key will host two public workshops to educate residents about the coyote conundrum. Town Hall says it will be similar to the presentation given last August, but will help seasonal residents and visitors learn the basics of coyote etiquette including:

• What to do if you see a coyote

• How to safeguard yourself, children and pets

• How to limit attracting coyotes to your property

• Frequently asked questions including relocation

The workshops are free and will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at All Angels Episcopal Church, 563 Bay Isles Road, on Dec. 17. The second workshop will be held the same day from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. at Christ Church, 6400 Gulf of Mexico Drive.

If anyone has a coyote question, they are encouraged to call Longboat Police Chief Pete Cumming at 941-316-1201.

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Longboat Key News

2 Responses for “Barwin blames Downtown coyotes on Longboat Resort”

  1. Ghost Rider says:

    Suny Gravy

    Fear mongering on your part will not resolve a growing problem.

  2. Suny Gravy says:

    The only Coyotes roaming downtown are those on two legs that pray on sympathetic diners and shoppers, loitering on the pavement on Main Street, after dark in recessed doorways, ready to pounce on the unsuspecting that fail to give the required handout.

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