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Coyote DNA To Be Tested Following Attack On Child

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A first look at Chicago's captured coyote, taken into custody Thursday night following an urgent search.

Is it the same animal that attacked a little boy in Lincoln Park?

CBS 2's Vince Gerasole has more from the Chicago neighborhood.

Staring back with almost puppy dog eyes, it's hard to believe the timid-looking coyote caused quite a stir overnight.

Chicago Coyote
(Credit: Chicago Animal Care and Control)

Chicago Animal Control and police sprang into action just after 10:00 p.m. when a coyote was seen wandering through a residential Lincoln Park neighborhood. A short time later, a coyote was captured on a quiet nearby street.

Patrols had been searching most of the day for a coyote that uncharacteristically attacked a six-year-old boy outside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Wednesday.

A few hours later the coyote, possibly the same one, was seen wandering Streeterville where a man claims a coyote bit him in the rear.

Coyotes have attacked people, not in Chicago, but in other areas because they were sick. The captured coyote looked cleaned up, and is now in the care of the Barrington-based Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

It will take several weeks for DNA tests to determine if it is the coyote responsible for either of the reported attacks.

Two decades later, Doctor Stan Gehrt with The Ohio State, is still heading up coyote research for Cook County, where he estimates the population of urban coyotes could be as high as 4,000.

Chicago Coyote
(Credit: Chicago Animal Care And Control)

"We thought it would be a one year study and find coyotes can't live in the city. And we were wrong," Gehrt said.

When asked how could coyotes exist in the city when they could be in more open spaces, Dr. Gehrt said it has a lot to do with hunting.

"Their biggest threat to their survival in rural areas is hunting and trapping. But when you move into the city, hunting and trapping is illegal," Gerhrt said. "And so survival rates actually increase when they move into the city."

It's an especially fascinating fact. Gehrt has observed them recognizing traffic patterns, knowing when to cross roadways and how to avoid being hit by passing cars.

"They cross roads on a regular basis and if they were not very good at it you, then would not have many coyotes in Chicago," he added.

On Friday night, Chicago police responded to reports of a coyote running with a jogger near the Shedd Aquarium, CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reports.

Here is a partial transcript of a police dispatch exchange:

Squad: "He's actually going eastbound. We tried to alert the jogger with the loudspeaker but he has his earbuds on and he can't hear us."

Dispatch: "Coyote probably thinks he's running with him, alright, we're notifying animal control."

Squad: "Do you have a description on this coyote?"

Dispatch: "Furry. Probably tan and black. Sharp teeth."

Squad: "He's chasing, he is chasing somebody, be advised he is jogging with them".

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