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March 4, 2013

Meet Chicago’s Four-Legged Employees

Like many cities, Chicago has its fair share of four-legged employees.  There are of course Police/Fire dogs as well as assistance and therapy pups, but today I wanted to introduce everyone to some four-legged workers that most people never see, let alone know exist!  Recently, my friend

Like many cities, Chicago has its fair share of four-legged employees.  There are of course Police/Fire dogs as well as assistance and therapy pups, but today I wanted to introduce everyone to some four-legged workers that most people never see, let alone know exist!  Recently, my friend was lucky enough to snap a photo of one of these night-shift workers on the job.

dog blog

This is no off-leash pet.  Any guesses who this is and what she is up to?

Believe it or not, and I definitely didn’t believe it at first, Chicago has over sixty coyotes living in the city!  These coyotes are no nuisance, they are tagged and tracked as they go about their business of keeping the urban population of rodents, geese and other small animals in check.  The coyotes are quite averse to human contact which is why many Chicago residents have no idea they even exist.

pet adventure

Coyotes: proudly serving Chicago (officially) since 2000 (Source: Wikipedia)

There is a great article/video about the coyotes here and more information about the Coyote Project can be found here.  These city ghosts, as the coyotes are known, can be found even in the most dense urban area of Chicago, so I hope to see one in person one day.  And if I am lucky enough to see a coyote it will give me the opportunity to ask if there are any job openings.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Eko definitely has the instincts for the gig!

As far as I know, Chicago’s Coyote Project is the only one of its kind.  Does anyone know of any similar programs?  I would love to read about how other places handle conservation issues in unique ways.

Comments for Meet Chicago’s Four-Legged Employees

  1. Over 60 coyotes? Wow! We only had wild boars in our village once. ;o)

  2. emma says:

    We are trying to get rid of them in our area as they are killing small dogs and stuff. They are wild and come into neighborhoods and cause trouble but hopefully the city ones are a bit better behaved. Does the city provide them with housing as well?

  3. Fingers crossed they can limit the numbers so they don’t start needing to appear during the day or everyone will start blaming them on missing pets. We love these conservation projects but so often they backfire because the human instinct is fear. Good luck dear coyotes!

  4. kdkh says:

    We also have had problems with local coyotes (and foxes) eating local pets – even jumping the fence to attack them in the back yards. these are primarily in the Denver suburbs, which are large cities themselves. Sometimes, we also have issues with mountain lions and bears. None of these get official recognition for vermin control, and we have a robot for goose dispersal. Seems a bit off.

  5. Judy says:

    There was an articvle once about one in Chicago that went into a local store and went to the refrigerated display that held sandwitches. Animal control had to get him out!!

  6. I don’t quite know how I feel about that. I have a friend whose cat was out and was killed by a Coyote. What about the feral cat population in Chicago? What about if a small dog were to become lost and wander into the city? It would be killed. I don’t know if I like that they kill geese. At first when I read this I thought it was a good idea but now that I am giving it some thought, I’m not so sure.

  7. I’ve never heard of this before, this is really cool! We’ve got some wildlife that comes around here in Wichita, but there have been some problems such as small dogs getting attacked (one of the dogs belonged to my brother in law). In a bigger city like Chicago though I can see why they would be welcome just to help with rats and mice. I’m all for it!

  8. That’s a very unique program for sure. We used to see a lot of them at the lake and hear their woeful howls at night. We did see one in the river valley last summer. Looked super healthy, not like it’s country cousins who were always pretty scruffy looking. In the country, they travel in packs and it’s a little scary for family pets.

  9. Janet says:

    In our Vancouver, BC neighbourhood, coyotes are often seen day and night. They hunt rodents and local cats, unfortunately. There are frequent “lost cat” postings in the ‘hood. The Stanley Park Ecology Society helps people learn more and keep their pets safe: http://stanleyparkecology.ca/conservation/co-existing-with-coyotes/

  10. Fascinating. Amazing how they are managing to live, unseen and pretty much unknown to the general public, in such a built up place. Of course, living in Africa. people have been known to think our streets are home to lions and elephants and the likes which, of course, they are not 🙂 Imagine, however, how few rodents would survive a couple of lions on the prowl.

  11. Wow! That is quite amazing! I literally had no idea about this! Very very cool! I love that the cyotes and people can co-habitat together

  12. caitlin says:

    Yes! I would love to see one too. I remember not too long ago one was spotted near Wrigley Field.

  13. onebluedog says:

    We’ve got lots of coyotes in my neighborhood, but they all seem to be self-employed 😉

  14. We have many coyotes in San Diego and I often see them on my morning (5:30am) or evening walks (8:30pm). Lola considers them a problem and she barks and growls whenever she smells them and a Ridgeback friend of hers ran after a coyote pack and was bitten, but not severely injured. A smaller dog wouldn’t have been so lucky. Most coyotes hide during daylight hours, but some have gotten used to people and are less shy. We definitely need them to balance out the rodent population, but it’s best if they remain wary of people.

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