The Eastern Coyote is expanding its range to include Long Island.The announcement came this week from researchers with the Long Island Coyote Study Group, part of the Seatuck conservation organization.
Home territories have been established on northwestern Long Island, they said.
“We’ve seen multiple individuals moving into northern Queens over the past 10 years. It was only a matter of time before they got a foothold” east of the borough, said Dr. Chris Nagy, Director of Research and Education at the Mianus River Gorge, and co-founder of theGotham Coyote Project.
Time will what the future holds, but this is the year that coyotes began to call parts of Long Island home, the group announced.
“We can’t reveal specific locations, in order to protect the animals,” said Dr. Russell Burke, Professor of Biology at Hofstra University, and a co-leader of the study group. “But, for the first time, we have confirmation of multiple territorial pairs that we expect are successfully breeding.”
Once established, scientists expect the coyotes to easily integrate into the varied habitats on Long Island, as they have across the country. It is anticipated that they will fully colonize the island within a decade.
“As word of the pending colonization spreads, Long Islanders, like many others before them, will reasonably be concerned about safety,” said Seatuck’s executive director, Enrico Nardone. “But coyotes have demonstrated across the country that they can live harmoniously in proximity to people, even in densely populated areas.
“While some level of conflicts — including confrontations with people and pets —is inevitable, most can be avoided. But only if we take the simple, tested steps to prevent them.”
He went on to say the key is to ensure coyotes maintain their natural aversion to humans “and have no reason to be in our direct proximity.”
This involves not making food sources of any kind available near homes or businesses.
“Study after study has shown that coyotes primarily rely on a natural diet, but they are opportunistic and will take advantage of food sources we create,” Nardone said.
Click here for Seatuck’s Long Island Coyote Tracker.