Despite a recently launched campaign urging New Yorkers to live in respectful harmony with the city’s wildlife, the story of a family of urban coyotes living near LaGuardia airport has taken a sad turn. According to a report by the NY Daily News, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is planning to trap and euthanize the thus-far peaceful pack.


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The coyote family, made up of three adults and eight pups, was spotted in their den near LaGuardia Airport and the Rikers Island bridge earlier this year. At that time, wildlife experts said that there was no reason to fear the animals and the general consensus was to leave them alone.

Related: Did you know there are coyotes living in NYC parks?

But, in a very unfortunate turn of events, the Port Authority announced last week that the coyotes will be trapped and euthanized due to safety concerns.

“The coyotes pose a potential threat to our employees and members of the community, including children who use nearby baseball fields,” the agency said in a statement. “Repeated efforts to force the coyotes to leave the area have not succeeded.”

Frank Vincenti of the Wild Dog Foundation, who has been keeping an eye on the coyotes for over a year, believes that the decision is an imprudent one. “The animals were fine, and they were still people shy. The tragedy is they were not showing aggression and they were not conflicting with anyone.”

While there have been no reports of aggressive behavior from the coyotes, there is a community of 25 feral cats that live nearby at the Department of Environmental Protection plant in Astoria. Because of fears regarding work safety, the management recently banned a local man who has spent years caring for the cats from continuing to do so, which could result in them becoming easy prey for the coyotes. The man has started a Change.org petition to save the felines.

Considering that the coyotes have stayed to themselves for so long, we have to wonder if relocating them to a remote location could be a less drastic option than putting them to sleep.

Via NY Daily News

Images via John Harrison and Bob and Moose