Milwaukee County now tracking coyote activity

Posted at 1:17 PM, Feb 01, 2016

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County is now tracking coyote activity.

It's something TODAY'S TMJ4 pointed out the county should be doing months ago. Experts say it's the best way to manage the population and keep track of bold coyotes.

“It would be easier if she was hit by a car or something,” Toni McBride said.

McBride found her cat, Dixie, in the front yard.

“When I got really close I realized that it was a leg. The way that it was broken off you just knew that it wasn't road kill. It was a coyote,” McBride said.

McBride didn't know who exactly to tell or how to warn her neighbors.

“The fact that these coyotes live in and amongst our neighborhoods and are walking down city streets and Santa Monica on their cell phones but there's no one tracking this I think is kind of shocking,” McBride said.

But now there's a website to post any coyote sighting or encounter.  It's something TODAY'S TMJ4 pointed out we needed back in November after we found out no one was keeping track.

“Currently, there is no historical data on coyote populations within Milwaukee. There is a large set of data out of Chicago and some out of Madison, but there was, you're right, nothing out of Milwaukee in particular,” Julia Robson said.  Robson works with the Milwaukee County Parks Department.

Now there's a central place and  uniform way to notify everyone, including your community and the Department of a Natural Resources. It's the Milwaukee County Coyote Watch on the Inaturalist website.

“This will give us information on how frequently coyotes are being observed where they're being seen,” Robson said

And the DNR is watching, too, so if coyotes are being seen and more importantly behaving aggressively or not scared off by humans, they'll know right away.

“It allows us to be proactive in regards to coyote management education rather than reactive to the point where we do have pets being attacked and human and or pet safety are on the line,” Robson said.

McBride just wishes the website was in place sooner because she says it could have saved her cat's life.

“Maybe they'll realize the problem is a little more widespread than is believed,” McBride said.

To help the reporting website work better local wildlife experts will start trapping and tagging coyotes.

They'll be putting different colored tags in the animals ears, so that way if a coyote is habituated or too bold, it will be easier to identify.

They'll be tagging along the Underwood Creek Parkway in Wauwatosa.