Riverside talks about handling coyotes

RIVERSIDE – Encounters with coyotes are something residents in Riverside deal with regularly.

In 2013, residents reported 383 coyote sightings to the Riverside Police Department, according to police records.

A program to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Riverside Township Auditorium, 27 Riverside Road, will focus on how residents can protect their pets and how to haze coyotes to keep them away.

The discussion will be hosted by the police department and Riverside’s Safe Environment Commission. Guest speaker Lynsey White Dasher, director of Humane Wildlife Conflict Resolution for the Humane Society of the United States has been invited to lead the discussion. Dasher is an expert at managing wildlife relationships in urban and suburban communities, including dealing with Canada geese, white-tailed deer, bears and, of course, coyotes.

With a Masters of Science degree from the University of Maryland, Dasher has worked on the largest study of human and coyote interactions in the country. With her work with the Cook County Coyote Project, Dasher completed research and data analysis and published research regarding coyote attacks on people in the U.S. and Canada.

Coyotes are a species of canine closely related to the gray wolf and are largely reclusive animals. However, because of their proximity living with humans, as they lose their fear of people, they can feel safe visiting yards and even approaching people, according to a village news release.

Dasher’s talk will focus on how to maintain a positive and separate relationship with coyotes. Discussion points include where coyotes find food and why they are attracted into a residential community, as well as how to keep dogs safe from coyotes. Tips will also be provided for keeping free roaming pets, like cats, safe from coyotes.

Among the most useful information for residents, Dasher will share her experiences on how to keep coyotes at bay when they are encountered by humans.

For information on the program call Safe Environment Commission chairwoman Martha Meegan at 773-433-0691.