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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Child injured in coyote attack near Huntington Beach pier; 2 coyotes killed

Child Injured In Coyote Attack Near Huntington Beach Pier; 2 Coyotes Killed

On Thursday night in Huntington Beach, a child was seriously injured during a coyote attack on the sand north of the pier, officials said.

Huntington Beach spokeswoman Jennifer Carey said the girl was with her mother when the attack happened around 9:45 p.m. The girl was admitted to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Later during the night, officers found and shot two coyotes, killing one near Pacific Coast Highway and Goldenwest Avenue, Lieutenant Theoby Archer said. Authorities believe the coyote was not responsible for the attack.

The second coyote, who was on the beach, was wounded by gunfire, ran away from officers and disappeared near the wetland.

“We couldn’t re-shoot it because of the backdrop issues,” Archer said. “We are fairly certain that we have wound it very well.”

As of Friday evening, that coyote had been found under a trailer in a trailer park by officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Orange County Animal Control, police said.

Police said the body will be sent to a laboratory in Sacramento, where wildlife forensic scientists will work on it on Saturday and try to compare DNA samples from any dead bodies with samples taken from the victim’s bite wounds. ” news release.

“Both will also be tested for rabies, followed by a post-mortem, which usually takes a few additional days,” the release said.

Police did not provide further details about the girl.

In a video from a Surfline.com camera that shows the attack, a woman is holding a child and taking selfies with another man and child a few feet north of the Huntington Beach Pier.

At one point the child slips a few steps behind the woman. The coyote pauses in front of him for a split moment before leaping to the top and tackling the baby.

The woman is unaware of the attack, facing the other direction towards the sea. The attack lasts longer than 10 seconds. The woman runs towards the child, the coyote runs away.

They walk a few steps before the woman descends to see the baby, as do those standing nearby as coyote circles.

She holds the baby in her arms as they walk away with the other person and the child and the audience, who walk into the sand and out of view of the camera.

The coyote returns for a third time, exploring the area near the shoreline as another pair walks by, also seemingly unaware of its presence.

Andy Verdon, a surf coach at Huntington Beach High School, said that in his decades coaching on sand in that area he had never heard of coyotes on the beach.

“I’ve never seen a coyote on the beach or anywhere,” he said. “I was purely shocked. I hope the little girl is okay.”

But other, local surfers have recently noticed the increasing presence of coyotes on the sand.

“Over the past few weeks we’ve seen a coyote roaming the beach from the pier to Goldenwest,” said Huntington Beach surfer Louis Rice.

“The locals were very concerned about it, and expressed their concern and fear of human attack, so it was terrifying but not surprising,” he said.

Coyote sightings are common in the city, said Lt. Archer, as the city has a large park and wetland, adding that the number of coyote sightings on the beach has been increasing recently.

He warned the residents to be aware of their surroundings while walking on the beach.

“It was a unique situation where we attacked someone,” Archer said. “These are wild animals and they can be as unpredictable as sharks and stingrays in the water.”

While experts say attacks on humans are uncommon, there have been other attacks in Orange County recently. In 2018, a 3-year-old was attacked in Placentia, and in 2020 a 91-year-old was bitten in Laguna Beach.

A report by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife of Southern California coyote attacks from 2012 to 2016 identified 50 instances where people were bitten.

Eric Strauss, Loyola Marymount University’s chair of biology and director of LMU’s Center for Urban Resilience, said coyote populations are on the rise.

He said that as the epidemic spread and people went to fewer public places, coyotes were seen in more places even in broad daylight.

“Cities are rich with food resources for wildlife, so it is likely that a lingering drought could alter menus and alter their forage choices,” he said in an email.

Strauss said it is not unusual for coyotes to forage on public beaches because the sand is often full of natural food resources along the surf line and people are left behind to picnic.

Of the Huntington Beach attack, he said, “It was relatively late at night, when coyotes in urban habitats are usually very active – especially if the beach was otherwise devoid of people.”

The professor was not surprised that the woman did not pay attention to the surrounding conflict.

“The beaches are noisy with the sound of surf and wind, so it would be easy for a human not to hear coyote activity, or even struggle,” he said.

He did not wish to comment on the nature of the attack or the motivation of the coyote, as information about the incident is still incomplete.

According to experts, coyotes are usually seen more often in urban areas in search of food, water and shelter during the spring, increasing the risk of attacks on pets and sometimes people.

Huntington Beach Police asked that anyone who sees a coyote in their city call 714-960-8811.

Reporter Quinn Wilson contributed to this report.

World Nation News Desk
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