Coyotes are sometimes forced to relocate in expanding urban settings - much like Bloomington-Normal. (photo by Janet Kessler/flickr)
BLOOMINGTON - The scavenger best know as Wile E. to many cartoon watchers is becoming a nuisance in Bloomington.
An increased number of reported coyote sightings in the Bloomington city limits has some officials worried about an overpopulation problem - but not all.
Darryl Coates is the McLean County district biologist for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. While some local departments may be receiving more nuisance complaints and sightings, he wouldn't necessarily call it a coyote problem in Bloomington.
"I get calls all of the time," Coates said. "I think it's a seasonal thing with animals starting to get into that mating mode. Some of the increase could be related to the drought but I'm not sure if you can draw a conclusion there."
Coates said you should never approach a coyote for any reason. Coyotes can be classified as "nuisance wildlife" if they damage property. They're not usually dangerous to humans, but sightings and reports do remain on the rise in McLean County.
"Folks are a little more aware of their environment these days and I don't know if it's the warmer weather that we had in February but they aren't used to seeing wildlife like that in those settings," Coates said.
Coyotes generally pose no danger to humans or their pets but small and old animals are vulnerable to danger from wild animals. He encourages you to know how to deal with a coyote encounter by visiting the Living with Wildlife in Illinois section on the IDNR website.
To start, using caution and common sense with your pets is always a smart choice. Coates suggests keeping an eye on your animals when you let them outside after dark and controlling them in a smaller confined area where they are protected from all sides. For your protection, fences can also keep unwanted visitors out of your space.