Aggressive Coyote Removed from Contra Costa County

A multi-agency team of wildlife management professionals and local law enforcement caught and euthanized the coyote that attacked five people in the Moraga/Lafayette area of Contra Costa County, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced.

This unusually aggressive coyote attacked a small child on July 9, 2020, an adult male on Dec. 4, 2020, another adult male on Dec. 15, 2020, another small child on Feb. 16, 2021 and another adult male on Feb. 19, 2021. All the attacks occurred within two miles of one another in a north to south Lafayette/Moraga corridor. Personnel from CDFW, U.S. Dept of Agriculture – Wildlife Services, the Moraga and Lafayette police departments and Contra Costa County Animal Services have been working constantly to locate and remove the offending animal. On Thursday, evidence from CDFW’s wildlife forensics lab matched the DNA of this coyote to samples taken from each of the five victims.

U.C. Davis veterinary staff will conduct a rabies test. There is no current evidence to suggest the coyote is rabid but because of the severity of the disease it is standard operating procedure in an animal attack investigation such as this one. Rabies tests can only be done post-mortem.

Contra Costa County residents interested in learning more about living near coyotes can visit Keepmewild.org where there are helpful tips on how we can all better coexist with coyotes and other wild animals around us.

Personnel from the agencies involved in the operation wish to extend gratitude to the Contra Costa County citizens in the vicinity who have been overwhelmingly supportive of the effort to remove the dangerous animal. It is the sincere hope of the agencies that locals can recreate outdoors in the area again with significantly reduced anxiety and that the community knows that outdoor recreation is still very safe.

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Media Contact: 
Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Captain, (916) 508-7095 

State Wildlife Agencies to Hold Workshops on Coyotes in Urban Areas

Due to an increase in the number of reported conflicts between humans and coyotes in California, a series of online-based workshops are planned to help local communities and residents understand the reasons for that increase and how to reduce future conflicts. The first workshop offered by the California Fish and Game Commission and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is scheduled for March 26, 2021. Dates of additional workshops will be provided later. People interested in participating in this conversation about coyotes in the urban environment can visit the Commission website to learn how to join the workshop.

“The Commission and CDFW have heard and understand public concerns about increasing human interactions with coyotes in our cities and towns,” said Commissioner Eric Sklar, chair of the commission’s Wildlife Resources Committee. “Living with wildlife brings challenges, and the workshops are an opportunity to both share and learn more about how we collectively address that reality.”

The principal reasons wildlife, including coyotes, ventures into populated areas is to search for food, water or shelter. Human-coyote interactions are on the rise for many reasons, including increased urbanization, increased abundance of food and water sources, and access to attractants such as pet food, human food, pets and small livestock. Increased interactions can lead to human-coyote bites, pet loss (depredation) and disease transmission concerns. Adaptive, integrated strategies exist to mitigate conflicts and address concerns.

“One of the great things about the State of California is the abundance of open area, natural habitat and diverse wildlife,” said CDFW Deputy Director of Wildlife and Fisheries Stafford Lehr. “But with the rise of human interactions with wildlife, in particular urban coyotes, it is important that the Commission and CDFW work together to improve awareness and safety.”

CDFW and the Commission expect these workshops will provide an inclusive virtual platform for meaningful discussion on human-coyote conflicts and integrated coyote management planning. The first workshop is focused on the science and research related to coyotes in the urban environment as well as the current laws, regulations and jurisdictional roles that create a foundation for communities to reduce human-coyote interactions.

WHAT: Coyotes in the Urban Environment Workshop Series

WHEN: March 26, 2021 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) – Workshop 1 (Science & Research; Laws & Regulations)

WHERE: Participants will join via Zoom and are asked to register in advance and take an online survey. Visit the Commission website or CDFW Facebook page for invite information.

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Media Contacts:
Tim Daly, CDFW Communications, (916) 201-2958
Melissa Miller-Henson, CFGC, (916) 208-4447

Knoxville Wildlife Area and Cedar Roughs Wildlife Area, Napa County Re-Open

moss covered oak on hillside

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce the re-opening of the Knoxville Wildlife Area and Cedar Roughs Wildlife Area, both in Napa County. The August 2020 LNU-Lightning Complex Fire consumed the entire 21,500-acre Knoxville Wildlife Area and both units of the Cedar Roughs Wildlife Area (414 acres).  The public is asked to remain vigilant of potential hazards such as falling trees and rocks, and to confine use to established old ranch road trails. Potential for debris flow is high along the northern section of Berryessa-Knoxville Road and in the Long Canyon area during heavy rain events. To protect public safety, this may prompt subsequent closure of the Knoxville Wildlife Area.

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Media Contacts
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 825-7120 
Stacy Martinelli, CDFW Wildlife Biologist 

Wildlife Officer Academy Graduates 21 New Wildlife Officers

After a grueling 10 months, the Wildlife Officer Academy Class of 2020 from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) graduated today in Oroville.

“It’s a great day when we add wildlife officers to the Law Enforcement Division,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of Law Enforcement. “These new wildlife officers have shown unparalleled resolve and were able to overcome the challenges many of us have and continue to face in 2020.  I am proud of these wildlife officers as they begin their new careers dedicated to serving and protecting the people of California and safeguarding the diverse landscape of California’s natural resources.”

The 2020 academy class is made up of 35 cadets, including 21 new wildlife officers, nine State Parks peace officers, one Butte County Deputy Sheriff and four self-sponsored cadets. The academy participants began instruction in January at Butte College near Oroville, but classes were abruptly interrupted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this did not stop the learning process as the academy staff rose to the challenge of implementing distance learning. Online instruction was offered in place of classroom training and when deemed appropriate, required in-person training modules were conducted in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols.

At today’s ceremony, 21 wildlife officers were pinned with the badge indicating the rank of warden.

The next training phase is the Field Training Program, which begins in November. During field training, newly sworn wildlife officers patrol with a seasoned Field Training Officer. These wildlife officers will begin to employ the skills they learned in the academy by apprehending poachers and polluters, protecting our ocean waters and beaches, responding to human wildlife conflict incidents, shutting down illegal cannabis cultivation and protecting the people of California.

A career as a California wildlife officer offers individuals interested in natural resources and law enforcement a lifetime of challenges, diverse assignments and opportunities for professional growth and career advancement. To find out more about what it takes to become a California wildlife officer, please visit https://wildlife.ca.gov/enforcement/career.

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Media Contact:
Captain Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 508-7095

Hunter retrieving a duck

CDFW Implements Wildlife Area and Refuge Check Station Safety Precautions for 2020-2021 Hunting Seasons

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is planning ahead to provide ample recreational hunting opportunities on wildlife areas and refuges this fall and winter, while also keeping hunters and CDFW staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CDFW has established a page on its website to describe specific procedures to be implemented this year for public and staff health and safety. Wildlife areas and refuges will be open as long as visitors implement these practices.

Hunters should be aware of the following:

  • Changes have been made to in-person lottery and first-come-first-served (FCFS) operations for the 2020-21 waterfowl season, such as adjusted hours and controls to increase physical distancing between hunters and staff. To further reduce the congestion of hunters at check stations during peak use periods and minimize the potential for spread of COVID-19, hunters will be allowed to enter a lottery or FCFS list at only one state wildlife area or federal refuge prior to each shoot day for the 2020/21 waterfowl season. This limitation does not apply to reservation applications through the Automated License Data System.
  • Sanitation procedures have been put in place, including a requirement for all individuals on the property to wear masks and maintain distance from others while conducting check station business. Non-portable restrooms will be closed to the public (portable restrooms will be provided). Hunters and other visitors to CDFW lands are asked to bring hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies with them, and to carry their trash home for disposal.
  • Controls for hunter/visitor check-out will be implemented to minimize contact between hunters and staff. In some locations, this could include the installation of drop boxes for collecting permits and harvest report cards. Each hunter should carry and present their own bird strap to facilitate safe check-out procedures.
  • CDFW is accepting RV camping applications, where applicable, for the 2020-2021 hunt season. Please contact wildlife area staff for up-to-date information on the status of RV camping.

For details, additional information and updates, please check https://wildlife.ca.gov/Lands/COVID-19 frequently throughout the season.

CDFW may need to update these provisions to ensure consistency with the latest state and local guidelines and directives.

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Media Contact:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714