‘Coyotes in the Richmond district?’

Animals spotted roaming in Golden Gate Park

Coyote sightings in Golden Gate Park may have some residents on edge, but The City says there is nothing to worry about.

At a recent Richmond district town hall meeting, two residents stood up and expressed their concern about seeing the coyotes running around the park, according to Pat Kaussen, who works at the Richmond District Neighborhood Center and was at the meeting.

“We were all stunned,” she said. “Coyotes in the Richmond district?”

There have been about 20 sightings of coyotes in the 17,000-acre park by residents and park rangers, according to the Recreation and Park Department. But there have been no reports of the usually shy animals hurting people or causing any major problems.

“We have no known incidents of any coyote-Homo sapien showdown in Golden Gate Park,” Recreation and Park Department Spokeswoman Rose Marie Dennis said. “We want people to enjoy the park and not worry about coyotes distracting them from their enjoyable time in the park.”

Because the coyotes tend to stay to themselves and pose little threat, The City has no plans of trying to trap them, according to Dennis. She said parkgoers should leave the animals alone, but if they do see a coyote and are concerned the animal is rabid or ill, they should call the police department, a park ranger or animal control. If a problem was to develop, Dennis said, the Recreation and Park Department would seek the advice of experts.

Rich Weideman, the chief of public affairs and special events for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, said there have been no known reports of coyotes roaming the area that they cover, which includes Ocean Beach, Ft. Mason, San Francisco Memorial and the beaches of the Presidio. However, there have been some reports of coyotes roaming around the hills of the Presidio.

Dennis said The City does not know how many coyotes there are in Golden Gate Park because the department only knows they exist based on eyewitness accounts. The department is not even sure how the animals, which are not native to The City, came to San Francisco in the first place, although there are several theories.

“There is an urban legend that they traveled across the Golden Gate Bridge,” Dennis said. “That's the urban legend we’ve been told [but] we have no idea where they came from.”

sfarooq@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocal

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