Environment & Science

Park closed after coyote attacks — if you see one 'do NOT run'

A coyote keeps pace with a car (not seen) as it runs down the road October 8, 2012 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park. It was established in 1872. Yellowstone extends through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park's name is derived from the Yellowstone River, which runs through the park.
A coyote keeps pace with a car (not seen) as it runs down the road October 8, 2012 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park. It was established in 1872. Yellowstone extends through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park's name is derived from the Yellowstone River, which runs through the park.
KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Grant Rea Park remains closed after three coyote attacks over the last couple of weeks.

Officials have temporarily closed the Montebello park while they tried to determine what was prompting the animals' aggressive behavior. Grant Rea Park borders the San Gabriel River, which is full of coyote habitats.

In the most recent incidents, coyotes bit a woman on her foot, a man working on his truck in his yard and a homeless man who ended up at the hospital with 19 puncture wounds.

"We eliminated five coyotes from the park and we're hoping that those were the offending animals, but we won't know that for several more days," Andrew Hughan with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, tells KPCC. "People are going to have to be much more diligent about their food and their behavior in the park, hopefully, to reduce the aggressive behavior of the coyotes."

Coyotes can access the park through a game trail, according to Hughan.

Coyotes are opportunistic hunters. "They'd much rather eat pizza than a mouse," Hughan says. The city is going to step up the emptying of trash cans in the park but humans will also need to clean up after themselves.

Hughan says Southern California usually sees a dozen or so coyote incursions each summer  — but a dozen coyote bites in such a short span of time is rare.

If you do encounter a coyote, Hughan recommends standing your ground and picking up small children and pets. Do NOT run. Call 911 or Animal Control if you feel threatened.