Several coyote sightings recently have been reported in Lombard residential areas -- and have become increasingly common across the region.
Officials at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn say most calls they get about coyotes center on fears the animals represent a threat to children or pets.
While it is obvious everyone should keep their distance from the animals, Illinois Department of Natural Resources records indicate coyote attacks on humans are extremely rare. A majority of such attacks have occurred when people try to hand feed the animals.
Willowbrook officials say the increase in DuPage sightings is due to increased development and transformation of the landscape that affects the habitat of many wild species, including coyotes.
The Willowbrook Wildlife Center and the DuPage County Forest Preserve District both advise residents to act cautiously should they spot a coyote and to follow some simple safety guidelines to prevent any incidents with small animals, especially dogs and cats:
• Keep pet food and watering dishes inside, especially at night.
• Keep cats indoors.
• Keep small dogs and cats on leashes and stay with your pets while outside, especially during evening and early morning.
• Don't feed any wild animals.
• Don't allow spillage to accumulate outside bird feeders.
• Don't use poisons to control wildlife. This practice is inhumane and may be illegal.
Adult coyotes usually weigh between 30 and 45 pounds and are extremely shy animals. They are primarily nocturnal, although daytime sightings have been documented.
Due to regulations regarding the capture of wild animals, Lombard does not trap coyotes. DuPage County provides information on urban coyote management at dupageco.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=38941.
Information on contractors that are permitted to trap and relocate coyotes also can be found on DuPage County's site.
Anyone with questions regarding coyotes may contact the Willowbrook Wildlife Center at (630) 942-6200 or at willowbrookwildlife.org.