Group warns: coyote numbers up in RI

The Coyote Smarts website. (Photo by WPRI-TV)

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Coyotes are starting to become a major concern in Rhode Island — wandering yards and among homes — and a local group is going to work to warn neighbors.

The predators are becoming more common than you think. Dozens of coyotes have been wandering around in packs, says Jo Yellis, the project coordinator for Coyote Smarts.

Yellis says she’ll never forget the first time she saw a coyote outside her home. It was two years ago. “It was so fascinating, seeing a coyote in our backyard, that my husband and I spent a lot of time admiring it and taking pictures of it,” she said Monday.

East Bay residents compared notes; the coyotes have been getting too close for comfort, and people don’t know how to handle the situation.

“There’s way too many of them,” adds Christi Smith, the executive director of the Potter League for Animals. “They’re bold; in many areas they’re threatening to people and their companion animals.”

Coyote Smarts, in conjunction with local non-profits like the Potter League, now has a mission to educate the public.

“We know where the packs are, we know what influences they have on their volumes and their pups, and the territories that they range,” said Smith. “When we started working together we discovered that the easiest thing is to get the information out to the public.”

Coyote Smarts plans to launch a website to track coyote sightings from people on a map, as coyote sighting in your area can prompt you to seek further help.

The website is now online, though the official debut of the website is set for May 6, along with a speaking program of coyote experts at the Atlantic Beach Club in Middletown.

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