Photo courtesy National Parks Service

Photo courtesy National Parks Service

SUNSET PARK — Coyotes have strayed from their comfort zone near the base of the Santa Monica Mountains and set up home near the city’s southern border, according to community sources.

Over the past few months, residents of the Sunset Park neighborhood have reported spotting up to five of the wild animals around Penmar Golf Course and Santa Monica Airport, according to an e-mail thread obtained from Friends of Sunset Park President Zina Josephs.

The latest reported sighting occurred the evening of Nov. 11 at Ocean Park Boulevard and 25th Street.

“This has been going on for a couple of years, but now the e-mails are more frequent and there seems to be a family of coyotes, not just one or two,” wrote Josephs. Residents, who say they have found the remains of cats and, in one particular case, a rabbit, are concerned for the safety of their children and that another litter of coyotes could be born in the area.

City Hall confirmed that the animals have been spotted in the region, though noted it is unclear how many there are or whether or not they have permanently settled in the region.

“They’ve been seen around the airport, Penmar Golf Course and Sunset Park neighborhood,” said Sgt. Mike Graham, supervisor of SMPD’s Animal Control Unit. The coyotes have been spotted at all hours of the day and night, he added.

“We haven’t captured any of them,” said Santa Monica Airport Manager Stelios Makrides. Traps have been set, however, with the intention of relocating the animals out of the region.

The Animal Control Unit is asking the community to call (310) 458-8594 in the case of a coyote sighting. To reduce the likelihood of a coyote finding its way into your backyard, the unit recommends to:

• Refrain from feeding or providing shelter to any type of wildlife.

• Keep garbage cans securely shut and spray them with ammonia multiple times a week to eliminate food odor.

• Rinse bottles and cans before recycling.

• Turn on motion-activated lights and sprinklers.

• Avoid feeding pets outdoors, or make sure to bring in food and water bowls during the night.

• Keep a careful watch on small pets and children.

Should you be approached by a coyote, Animal Control suggests to wave your arms, shout in a loud tone and throw objects at it while maintaining eye contact. Make yourself appear large and intimidating; never turn your back to the animal, but try to move toward populated areas if possible.

To ensure the safety of your animals, avoid bushy areas on walks and stay close to high-pedestrian traffic areas. Never allow them to interact with the coyotes, and keep them indoors at night.

“The biggest thing is if they don’t supply a food source for the wild animals, then the wild animals will go somewhere else,” Graham said.

 

— GREG ASCIUTTO