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VIDEO: Coyote Spotted Strolling Near Tourists On San Francisco's Telegraph Hill

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A coyote was recorded on video sauntering near San Francisco's Coit Tower Monday morning, unfazed by passing tourists and residents.

KPIX 5 Reporter Joe Vazquez was on his way up Telegraph Hill around 8:30 a.m. when he spotted the coyote.

"The moment stopped me in my tracks, and I gently pulled out my iPhone to shoot video," Vazquez said. "He was calm.  Didn't seem to make eye contact and didn't seem to be skittish or aloof as wild coyotes usually are.

RAW VIDEO: Coyote Strolls Next To Coyote Alert Sign In SF Telegraph Hill

Following from a distance of about 30 feet, Vazquez said the coyote stopped to look over the landscape before stopping at an interesting spot: right next to a coyote alert sign.

"Then he sauntered off down the trail, passing tourists and a lady doing her exercises along the way," he said.

The latest sighting is a testament to the national trend of urbanized coyotes making homes in city parks, particularly in San Francisco where coyote alert signs are becoming more common.

Wildlife experts believe coyotes migrated across the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin County before settling into the Presidio, moving east toward Telegraph Hill where they've been since 2005.

San Francisco Animal Care & Control spokesperson Deb Campbell said the bounty of fruit trees, small rodents and residents leaving food out keeps the coyotes comfortable in their new abode.

"Even if we could remove coyotes from an area, new coyotes would take their place," Campbell said.

It's also shown their adaptability to survive in small territories like Pioneer Park which surround Coit Tower at the top of Telegraph Hill.

But the increased sightings are putting pet owners on edge, and for good reason.

In September, a small dog running off-leash at Stern Grove Park in San Francisco was attacked by coyotes.

Since July residents have reported dozens of coyote sightings. Two cats have been killed and San Francisco Recreation and Park workers placed warning signs in Stern Grove.

A month ago a dog owner told KPIX 5 five coyotes surrounded his bichon frise at Stern Grove and attacked it.

Coyotes attacks on small dogs are no longer rare in San Francisco. In August the fire department rescued a small dog from a coyote at Stern Grove, and there have also been coyote attacks and warnings posted in the Presidio.

Park officials suggest owners keep their dogs on a short leash, never leaving them unattended and overall awareness of urban coyotes.

"Just as humans take precautions when walking at night in an unfamiliar area, or changing their routines during the drought," Campbell said, "we encourage people to adjust their behaviors to remain vigilant in a known active coyote area."


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