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'Do not feed the wildlife' signs installed in Griffith Park following coyote attacks and subsequent coyote cull

Wildlife

When wildlife officials responded to two incidents of coyote-on-human violence at Griffith Park by killing eight of the park's coyotes in September, many Angelenos were outraged

Adding insult to injury was the acknowledgment by officials that they had no way of knowing whether any of the coyotes killed in the name of public safety had actually been behind the attacks -- one in August and one in September -- because, in both incidents, too much time had elapsed between the time of the bite and the time it was reported for DNA evidence to be collected from the victim. (Such DNA evidence could potentially have identified the coyote attacker or attackers while letting innocent animals off the hook.)

Many who opposed killing the coyotes argued that not enough had been done to prevent the attacks in the first place.  Since Griffith Park's coyote population lives in close proximity to humans, many of the animals don't have the healthy fear of people that their less-urban cousins do.  Worse, regular visitors to the park said, well-meaning but ill-advised people regularly feed the coyotes, despite the fact that doing so is punishable by jail time and a fine of up to $1,000.

"They don't need our help, they need to survive on their own," Gregory Randall, the wildlife specialist for the city of Los Angeles, told our sister blog, L.A. Now.

To address the problem of park visitors feeding the animals, more than 70 "Do not feed the wildlife" warning signs are being posted around Griffith Park (with special attention paid to highly trafficked areas like picnic spots).  In a ceremony Monday, Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge installed the first of these signs.  LaBonge told those assembled that he often sees coyotes on his daily hikes through the park but never feeds them. "We just say hi to each other."

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: LaBonge speaks at a news conference about the dangers of feeding coyotes. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 
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