Maplewood has posted coyote safety tips on the township website after a series of coyote sightings in recent weeks.
At the December 5, 2023 Board of Health meeting, Mayor Dean Dafis reported on recent coyote sightings — including his own: “I think we need to have information readily available on the website. … even for someone like myself, I was struggling to get the number, I was calling the county and it was a hot mess in that moment in time. And of course by the time we got to someone. they were gone and we couldn’t locate them.”
Besides contact information, Dafis also asked that the Health Department post tips on how to behave should one come in contact with a coyote.
This past June, a 13-year-old girl and her dog were attacked by a coyote in South Mountain Reservation in Maplewood. The girl and dog both recovered, but the dog lost an eye.
[If you observe coyotes in the daytime that show no fear of humans or if a coyote attacks a person, contact local police and NJ Fish and Wildlife at 908-735-8793; outside of normal business hours call the DEP Hotline at 877-WARN-DEP. Scroll down for more information.]
Dafis also noted that the feral cat population was increasing again and “we need to do more outside of our relationship with Bloomfield” for animal control. Health Officer Candice Davenport asked Dafis to share information on volunteers: “We can’t do anything regarding feral cats without the help of volunteers in the community. [The cats] are feral and we really do need hands on the ground.” Davenport said that Bloomfield “has been fantastic animal control but they are not local and so if we can have the help and assistance of volunteers and create a coordinated process, I’d be happy to do that.”
Dafis said he would be forwarding Davenport a model out of West Orange to consider in the new year.
The following information from New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Fish & Wildlife has been posted to the home page of MaplewoodNJ.gov:
The following guidelines can help reduce the likelihood of conflicts with coyotes:
- Never feed a coyote. Deliberately feeding coyotes puts pets and other residents in the neighborhood at risk. Feeding pet cats and/or feral (wild) cats outdoors can attract coyotes. The coyotes feed on the pet food and also prey upon the cats.
- Put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over.
- Remove sources of water, especially in dry climates.
- Bring pets in at night.
- Put away bird feeders at night to avoid attracting rodents and other coyote prey.
- Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry, and other farm animals.
- Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.
Although extremely rare, coyotes have been known to attack humans. Parents should monitor their children, even in familiar surroundings, such as backyards.
- Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.
- Clear brush and dense weeds from around dwellings – this reduces protective cover for coyotes and makes the area less attractive to rodents and rabbits. Coyotes, as well as other predators, are attracted to areas where rodents are concentrated like woodpiles.
- If coyotes are present, make sure they know they’re not welcome. Make loud noises, blast a canned air siren, throw rocks, or spray them with a garden hose.
If you observe coyotes in the daytime that show no fear of humans or if a coyote attacks a person, immediately contact your local police and NJ Fish and Wildlife at 908-735-8793; outside of normal business hours call the DEP [Department of Environmental Protection] Hotline at 877-WARN-DEP.