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Mass Wildlife to hold lecture on Coyote awareness in Saugus

Saugus,Ma. 6-14-18. Seen at Breakheart Reservation. (Owen O'Rourke)

SAUGUS — What should you do if you found yourself face to face with a coyote? The Friends of Breakheart and State Department of Conservation and Recreation will bring in a Massachusetts wildlife expert to teach you.

A lecture will be given by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Mass Wildlife) on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m., on why coyotes do what they do, and how to coexist peacefully with the animals.

Patricia Huckery, the Northeast Wildlife District Supervisor, will give the lecture, answering questions about what coyotes are doing in populated areas, how to prevent problems and conflicts with the animals, and addressing concerns that people have.

It will be at the environmental education center at Sprague Lodge at Camp Nihan.

Marion Larson, chief of information and education for Mass Wildlife, said coyotes first came to Massachusetts in the 1950s and have been known to exist in every town in the state, except for the islands, for at least the past two decades.  

“She will be talking about what life is like for coyotes and how is it they’re living in densely populated areas like Saugus,” said Larson.

Oftentimes people are surprised to find the animals living in really urban areas, she said.

Mass Wildlife is responsible for the conservation of freshwater fish and wildlife in the commonwealth, including endangered plants and animals.

There’s a family of coyotes on MassWildlife radar that was calling Logan Airport home, said Larson. They’ve also been known to frequent Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, and other densely populated areas.

“We’ve had reports of one scampering towards the Prudential Center,” she said. “They’re kind of like raccoons and skunks.They’ll eat anything.”

In May, a woman called 911 to report she was forced to climb a tree, and leave her labrador on the ground, to avoid a pack of wild coyotes on the trail at Breakheart Reservation. In her call, the unidentified woman told the dispatcher her dog was right in front of the tree and coyotes weren’t far. She was able to safely move about a quarter mile to meet Saugus firefighters coming to her aid.

Larson said coyote sightings, and calls to Mass Wildlife, tend to stay on a trend that follows the coyotes’ life cycle.

In the spring, when coyote pups are just about to be born, the department gets a fair amount of calls because the animals tend to be more visible and territorial.

By January, more people are hearing them — it’s mating time.

And in late summer, when young ones are out of the den and learning to hunt with the adults, they are seen more frequently, said Larson.

“For anyone who wants to learn more about these animals, this will be a great opportunity to do that,” said Larson.

For more information on coyotes in Massachusetts, visit www.mass.gov/service-details/learn-about-coyotes.

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