City warns of aggressive coyotes at Blunn Creek Nature Preserve

City warns of aggressive coyotes at Blunn Creek Nature Preserve

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The City of Austin is warning of aggressive coyotes in and around the Blunn Creek Nature Preserve. In fact, the city just enacted their trapping and euthanization program for the safety of surrounding residents.

Coyotes are a routine sighting for Spencer Kayser on his walks up and down St. Edwards Drive.

"They've definitely gotten pretty close, 20 feet within where I am. Just kind of looked, never gotten aggressive, but they've definitely gotten close and haven't seen scared at all," said Kayser.

He isn't scared of them either.

"It's kind of wild to see a wild animal like that so close. I've never seen anything like that before honestly," said Kayser.

Lately, city officials say the animals have done some pretty frightening things.

"They turned around and saw the coyote kind of stalking them," said Rene Barrera of the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department.

Environmental conservation specialist Rene Barrera says the coyotes make their dens in the Blunn Creek Nature Preserve between Oltorf and St. Edwards University. Much of the area is bordered by homes in the Travis Heights neighborhood. There are parks and trails throughout.

Barrera says some visitors and homeowners are starting to feel threatened.

"The Texas Wildlife Services has a rating of 0 to 7," Barrera explained. "In the past month we have had 11 calls sent to them the highest has been five. It's a matter of do we wait to 7 to have to trap. That's why we're having this conversation."

Barrera says the city made the decision on Monday to enact the trapping and euthanization program to rid the 38 acre park of the aggressive coyotes.

Texas Wildlife Services put two down this week after the animals chased someone out of the preserve.

"It's a matter of we cannot relocate because state law prohibits that and that was established back in the 2000s because of a rabies outbreak because of grey fox, so we have to euthanize them."

That choice has caused Travis Heights residents to create a petition on change.org.

"A lot of this could be amended by just education. Putting up signs, discouraging people from feeding animals, from leaving food where coyotes could be attracted to it things like that," said Travis Heights resident Francine Pilkington.

The city put up warning signs on Thursday that give trail-goers instruction of what to do should they encounter a coyote.

"You basically have to animate your behavior, raise your arms, yell, hoop and holler throw rocks, throw sticks to let them know you are bigger than they are. That will get them confused and they will run away," said Barrera.

Barrera says whatever you do, don't run. He says resident should stop leaving food out for the animals. That includes, not leaving trash cans out overnight. Barrera says if people use the trails, they should never take their dogs with them. Coyotes view dogs as prey.

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