NEW ORLEANS — Sunday– Ashlyn Blanchard’s husband and her two young boys were taking an evening stroll on the Marconi Boulevard walking trail in City Park.
They heard howling, looked across the street to the levee along the Orleans Canal between Filmore Avenue and Allen Toussaint Boulevard and saw a pack of coyotes.
They took pictures on their phones of the unusual sighting.
“Growing up here and having City Park across the street we’ve had sightings here and there,” Blanchard said. “There was kind of an influx after Katrina but it died down, so that degree, especially with babies in the pack was just a little alarming. Seems like a bigger problem now.”
We counted at least eight coyotes in the video, but Blanchard said there could have been up to 20 in the pack.
Nuisance wildlife expert Joe Andrade says that’s a large number for an urban area and a possible reflection of the local coyote population.
“It’s definitely growing and when they do disperse, they’re not going to disperse into the woods,” Andrade said. “They’re going to disperse and make territories in different parts of the urban area, Metairie, New Orleans.”
The City Park Conservancy said it “is aware of coyotes on the periphery of the Park.”
And, “Park patrons should make use of deterrent tactics or hazing techniques, such as using loud noises, if they encounter coyotes during their visit.”
Monday, Samuel Washington was enjoying City Park and had this reaction to this weekend’s sighting.
“That was a surprise to me because I’ve never seen that many, but I have seen them before,” Washington said. “I never thought there could be that many like that around here.”
Residents said coyotes have killed cats and small animals in the neighborhood surrounding the park.
“I’m hoping the city will step in, and we can have relocation efforts of some sort, but definitely a little scary,” Blanchard said.
Blanchard added from now on, when she’s walking her children, she’ll be on the lookout for coyotes with her head on a swivel.
“I have three kids under the age of four who live in these lanes and these parks and love playing in daylight hours, evening hours, so it is a little scary they’re running around here in such a large amount.”
The Louisiana SPCA which provides animal control services for the city of New Orleans released this statement:
The Louisiana SPCA is contracted by the City of New Orleans through New Orleans Humane Law & Rescue to handle companion animal issues. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is the agency that ultimately manages coyotes as wild animals.
While a coyote sighting is certainly scary, it’s not an emergency. In the same way that animals like squirrels and alligators exist in nature within our urban community, coyotes are wild animals. However, if a human life is being threatened by a companion or wild animal, residents should call 911 immediately.
People who feed feral cats are often concerned that coyotes might prey on the cats. These concerns are well founded, as coyotes will be attracted to the outdoor pet food. We recommend feeding cats only during the day and at a set time—and pick up any leftovers immediately, this will help with both rodents and coyotes. Small, unattended dogs may also be seen as potential prey for coyotes. It is important to either keep dogs on a leash shorter than 6 feet when outdoors or to stay within 6 feet of them when outside.
Here is City Park Conservancy’s full statement:
City Park Conservancy is aware of coyotes on the periphery of the Park. CPC encourages Park visitors to place trash in receptacles to discourage providing wildlife with unnatural food sources. Additionally, Park patrons should make use of deterrent tactics or hazing techniques, such as using loud noises, if they encounter coyotes during their visit.
Anyone in the Park who encounters a coyote that is behaving aggressively or in an unusual manner should report the sighting to the New Orleans Department of Mosquito, Rodent and Termite Control at 504-658-2400