A woman was hospitalized this week after a coyote bit her leg on a beach north of San Francisco that is part of a recreational area where there has been an increase in interactions between humans and wildlife, authorities said.
The woman told park rangers the coyote was acting aggressively as it approached her Tuesday on a remote beach in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Marin County.
After the animal bit her, she walked 1.7 miles on a trail back to a road and drove to a hospital, where she was treated for minor injuries, Charles Strickfaden, a spokesman for the National Park Service, told the Marin Independent Journal.
He said park rangers have noted a “large increase” in reports of people feeding coyotes. As a result, “food-conditioned coyotes” are increasingly approaching visitors to beg for food.
Park workers have begun trapping coyotes and outfitting them with GPS tracking collars, which biologists are using to study the animals’ movements. About a half-dozen coyotes have been tagged and released this month.
While interactions between humans and coyotes are on the rise in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, reports of coyotes biting people are rare, Strickfaden said.
If park scientists are able to identify the coyote that bit the woman on Tuesday, “our next steps will involve collaring or hazing the animal to deter aggressive behavior and increasing our public outreach in the area,” he said.
Park officials are urging visitors not to feed or approach wild animals. If approached by aggressive animals, people should make loud noises and large movements, officials said.