To keep coyotes away, Palatine council bans feeding of wildlife
You can no longer feed wild animals in Palatine, unless with an elevated bird feeder, as part of new measures enacted by the village council Monday to curb the presence of coyotes in town.
"This should go a ways toward helping us when we get the nuisance issues within certain neighborhoods," Village Manager Reid Ottesen told the council.
Coyotes are attracted by the presence of other wild animals and the food left out for them. Gatherings of wildlife also can increase the chance of disease transmission among animals and to people, village officials said.
Residents are welcome to continue feeding birds with elevated feeders but should clean up seeds that fall to the ground under the new ordinance, Police Chief Dave Daigle said Tuesday.
"As far as feeding raccoons and opossums and ducks and everything else, we are really trying to steer clear of that," he said.
The village hired a coyote specialist in January who's been working on trapping nuisance coyotes, meaning bold, aggressive ones. The specialist, Rob Erikson of Scientific Wildlife Management, has received 324 online reports of coyote sightings from January through March and has removed 15 coyotes from Palatine, Daigle said.
"Since this started and he began his field work, we have seen a noticeable decrease in coyote sightings and complaints," Daigle said, adding the effort will continue through the end of the year.
Erikson and Scientific Wildlife Management didn't respond to an inquiry Tuesday from the Daily Herald.
Daigle explained that Erikson aims to trap coyotes to remove them. But when trapping fails, he resorts to shooting them.
Daigle said he's aware of one coyote's being shot in the backyard of a home just south of Deer Grove Forest Preserve, after six failed attempts at trapping it. The home's owner had complained of coyote sightings, Daigle said.
The backyard where the coyote was shot was a place where someone was feeding wildlife, Daigle added.
"(Erikson) knew (the coyote) was so habituated that he needed to take it out," he said.
A nearby resident who heard the shot lodged a complaint with the village council. In response, police have asked Erikson to alert them when he plans to shoot a coyote so an officer can be present.
Erikson uses a .22 caliber rifle with subsonic bullets, which travel below the speed of sound and aren't as loud as regular bullets, Daigle said. The bullets are frangible, meaning they remain lodged in the animal's body, he added.
Erikson has told the village that there is an unusually high number of diseased coyotes in Palatine compared to nearby communities.
"For example, the ones from Rolling Meadows have good amounts of fat around the liver -- that's the indication of a healthy animal," Daigle said. "Every single one of ours have had no fat reserves and had other diseases."
Two small dogs were killed by coyotes in December and January in Palatine, but no attacks have been reported on people.
The goal now is to find out what is causing the Palatine coyotes to be diseased, Daigle said.
"(Erikson) is hoping this will generate interest and a study will be done," he said.