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Some Wildlife in Los Angeles County



It is believed that more than 5,000 coyotes roam the City of Los Angeles. Thousands more live throughout the county. Mostly, these animals live in
foothills in and around the city. Coyotes are highly intelligent, adaptable and possess excellent sensory abilities. Urbanized coyotes can survive on a
variety of foods including garbage, feeding by people, food left out for pets and small pets themselves. Zoos have had to deal with these predators
feeding on zoo exhibits. In 1987, coyotes attacked and killed 53 flamingoes at the Los Angeles Zoo. They have also victimized penguins. In 1995,
coyotes again managed to kill flamingoes and a two-year-old Andean Condor. Since that incident, the zoo installed a six and a half-mile perimeter
fence surrounding their facility.

Coyotes are adaptable predators, tolerant of human activities, and quick to adapt and adjust to changes in their environment. They are likely to lose
natural aversion to people when competition amongst coyotes increases for sources of food. The biggest problems occur when people feed coyotes
- either wittingly or unwittingly. Coyote attacks, when they occur, are commonly directed against small animals and pets. Although it is very rare,
coyotes have attacked humans. There were 37 reported attacks on humans in Los Angeles County between 1978 and 2003.

Coyote Attacks, Los Angeles County, 1978-2003

Date Location Incident
May 1978 Pasadena 5-yr-old girl bitten on left leg while in driveway of home
May 1979 Pasadena 2-yr-old girl attacked by coyote while eating cookies on front porch; grabbed by throat and cheek
Jun 1979 Pasadena Adult male bitten on heel while picking up newspaper from front yard
Jul 1979 Pasadena 17-yr-old female's leg lacerated by coyotes while attempting to save dog being attacked
Jul 1979 Pasadena Coyote bit adult male on legs while jogging; climbed tree to escape
Aug 1979 La Verne Coyote grabbed 5-yr-old girl and attempted to drag her into bushes. Suffered deep bites on neck, head, and legs before saved by father and a neighbor
July 1980 Agoura Hills 13-month-old girl grabbed and dragged off by coyote. Suffered puncture wounds to midsection before being saved by mother
Aug 1981 Glendale 3-yr-old girl killed in front yard by coyote; massive bleeding and broken neck
Oct 1994 Griffith Park Man with no shirt or shoes bitten by coyote (5 PM)
Mar 1995 Griffith Park Man with no shirt bitten by coyote (Noon)
Mar 1995 Griffith Park Coyote stalked and then knocked down 5-yr-old girl twice; mother rescued child (Daytime)
Jun 1995 Griffith Park Woman in shorts, barefoot, preparing food, bitten by coyote (Daytime)
Jul 1995 Griffith Park Man bitten by coyote while sleeping on lawn (2:45 PM)
Jul 1995 Griffith Park Man bitten by coyote while sleeping on lawn (4 PM)
Jul 1995 Griffith Park Coyote was chased away once; then returned to attack 15-mo-old girl in jumpsuit; child suffered bites to leg (4 PM)
Sep 1997 Pomona Man was stalked, then attacked by two coyotes, and bitten on ankle (Early evening, daylight)
May 1999 Canyon Country Coyote attacked dog in yard, and would not cease attack; man scratched in melee (Night)
Nov 1999 Hollywood Hills Coyote attacked and killed pet dog in man’s presence; coyote would not leave (Morning)
Apr 2001 Pomona 54-year-old woman fought, using an axe handle, with a large coyote that had attacked small poodle in back yard. Received bite on leg, and despite her efforts, the coyote killed the poodle and jumped over fence carrying the carcass (4:30 PM)
Jun 2001 Northridge 7-year-old girl attacked and seriously injured by a coyote, despite mother's attempts to fight off the coyote (7 PM)
Aug 2001 Hollywood Hills Coyotes bit man 8 times as he was defending his dog against their attack (11:50 PM)
Aug 2001 Chatsworth Two coyotes came into yard and took pet cat out of hands of 19-mo-old toddler
Sep 2001 Agoura Woman attacked by coyote when she attempted to stop its attack on her small dog (7:15 AM)
Sep 2001 Lancaster Man walking encountered 4 coyotes, which crouched, circling him, attempting to attack. Fought off with walking stick, hitting one square across the face (Morning)
Nov 2001 La Habra Heights Coyote on golf course ran up to woman, jumped on her back, and bit her on right forearm (Daytime)
Dec 2001 San Gabriel Coyote bit 3-yr-old girl in head; grabbed her shoulder in an attempt to drag her off Father chased coyote off (7:30 PM)
May 2002 Los Angeles Coyote attacked man walking his dog
Jul 2002 Woodland Hills Adult female attacked by coyote, bitten on arm (6 AM)
Jul 2002 Woodland Hills Adult male bitten on boot by coyote when he inadvertently came upon it between car and garage
Jul 2002 Canoga Park Woman walking 2 large dogs accosted by 3 coyotes; fell backward and fended coyotes off
Aug 2002 Mission Hills Coyote approached couple walking dog, attempting to snatch dog out of man’s arms; left only after being kicked (4 AM)
Nov 2002 Woodland Hills Coyote scaled 6-ft wall into yard, attacked and killed small dog in presence of owner; in melee, woman kicked coyote, then fell and fractured her elbow and was attacked and scratched by coyote (1 PM)
Feb 2003 Lake View Terrace Jogger bitten (tooth scrape on ankle) by coyote after jogging past neighborhood coyote feeding station
May 2003 Woodland Hills Coyote acted aggressively toward man after he intervened during its attack on his dog
May 2003 Woodland Hills Coyote came into residence to attack small pet dogs (2 PM)
Jul 2003 Granada Hills Boy walking family’s 2 dogs attacked by 3 coyotes; one dog was killed and the other injured; rescued by father
Nov 2003 Claremont Man and his dog attacked by 3-4 coyotes; he defended himself, hitting several coyotes with his walking stick (8 AM)

Source: Coyote Attacks: An Increasing Suburban Problem, Hopland Research & Extension Center, University of California research paper,
March 3, 2004, by Rex O. Baker, Joe R. Bennett, and Craig C. Coolahan


Keeping Coyotes & Pets Apart

1. In coyote areas, keep small pets indoors and don’t let them out at night unsupervised. Most coyote attacks occur at night.

2. Obey leash law and don’t let pets roam. Roaming pets are more likely to be hit by cars, attacked by coyotes and poisoned.

3. Report coyote encounters to authorities. Coyote sightings and encounters are mapped by agencies. When sightings increase, authorities may issue community alerts.

4. Coyotes eat a wide variety of food. Pick up pet food left outside and take inside at night to avoid attracting unwanted guests. Remove fallen fruit, especially avocados, from yards, Store trash in containers with tight lids.

5. An enclosed backyard does not provide safety for small dogs unless fencing is sufficiently high. Low fencing allows pets to escape and stray animals to enter the yard. Coyotes and cats can scale fences looking for food or mischief.

6. Clear brush and dense weeds around the yard which provide shelter for coyotes and the rodents they hunt. .

7. If you see a coyote stalking your pet yell and throw rocks at the coyote. Take your pet indoors.

Source: Southern California Veterinary Medical Association

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By the 1940s, mountain lions were thought to have been eradicated from Los Angeles. Now, naturalists estimate that about a dozen mountain lions
(also known as pumas or cougars) prowl the mountainous areas of Beverly Hills, Studio City, Tarzana, and Chatsworth. As recently as 2004, a
mountain lion was seen prowling Griffith Park, believed to have arrived there via urban water channels. These big cats hunt at night and prey on
small game, deer, and, on occasion, unfortunate stray pets. Mountain lions have attacked and, in fact, killed bicyclists, hikers and runners in Southern
California. The only verified mountain lion attack (according to the California Department of Fish and Game) on a human in Los Angeles County was
a non-fatal attack on a 27-year-old adult male on Mount Lowe in the San Gabriel Mountains in March 1995. The cyclist was bitten and cut by the
mountain lion, but fought off the animal with rocks. The mountain lion was subsequently tracked down and killed. In January 2004, in nearby
Orange County, two cyclists were attacked by a mountain lion in a regional park, one fatally.

About 40,000 years ago, Los Angeles saw the likes of a larger, considerably more powerful cat called the saber-tooth cat. These were as large as
African lions yet considerably more powerful with large deadly canines measuring up to eight inches. Author Jeff Rovin brought them back to life to
terrorize Southern California in his fictional novel Fatalis.

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At one time, Grizzly Bears roamed widely throughout Los Angeles County and Southern California. Hunting, however, decimated the numbers of this
magnificent beast. In 1916, the last known Grizzly in Southern California was shot and killed in Los Angeles County. Grizzlies, whose image appears on
California's state flag, are now extinct in California. By 1933, bears of any sort were already extinct in the mountains of Southern California. That year,
in an attempt to reintroduce bears to the Los Angeles area, rangers from Yosemite National Park introduced 11 California Black Bears to the San
Gabriel Mountains near Crystal Lake. The Black Bear is a smaller and much less aggressive cousin of the Grizzly. Biologists estimate that about 150 to
500 Black Bears now roam Angeles National Forest.

Since 1980, the California Department of Fish and Game recorded only 12 "bear attacks" statewide, two of which were in Los Angeles County:

July 2003 – A male hiker was knocked down by a bear at a remote campsite along the Pacific Crest Trail in the Angeles National Forest. The hiker
had just reached the camp, which was empty, dropped his pack on a picnic table, and was looking for a place to hang his food. As he walked back
toward the pack, he heard a noise behind him. As he turned he was knocked to the ground by a bear. After standing over him for a few seconds,
the bear grabbed the backpack and began dragging it off. The man shouted at the bear and threw rocks until the bear finally retreated without the
backpack. The hiker received only minor bruises and was not seriously hurt.

July 2001 – A woman was bitten on the arm by a bear at a county-run tree farm near La Verne. The bear, which was earlier spotted climbing on a
nearby trash can, reportedly walked up to the woman while she was seated at a picnic table and bit her on the arm. The woman was treated at a
hospital for puncture wounds. The bear was later shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. The bear weighed approximately 85 pounds
and was estimated at one to two years of age.

Source: California Department of Fish and Game

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