East Bay Town to Start Wildlife Watch Program as Coyote Sightings Rise

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A neighborhood watches for wild animals?

It might sound crazy. But it’s happening for the first time in the East Bay town of Moraga, as coyote encounters continue to rise in the area.

Coyotes just don’t come in the area out at night. There have been a number of attacks and sightings during the daylight hours in the Lamorinda area

“They just look at me. I look at them. They pass by and we respect each other," said Susan Captain of Moraga.

From attacks on pets and even humans, the concern is growing and so is the frustration for some residents.

Starting Friday, the city of Moraga is teaming up with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, on a program called “Wildlife Watch.”

“The neighborhood watch is designed to prevent crime and other disturbances in neighborhoods. Wildlife watch is to build community awareness to prevent conflicts with coyotes and other types of wildlife,” said Alexander Heeren of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In a seven-month period starting in July 2020, one coyote bit five people in the Moraga and Lafayette area.

Two attacks included toddlers, leaving the communities on edge, as a search for the coyote turned up nothing for months.

This program is designed to train people on how to prevent an attack and to safely co-exist with coyotes in the area.

Some of the rules people should follow include securing your outdoor trash and keep pet food indoors.

“I hear the howling at night and unfortunately the cats go up and play on the hillside. So ,the coyotes take on cats,” said Kathi Kling of Moraga.

Moraga police are also looking forward to the new program.

“If we can work with this program, eventually train volunteers here in Moraga to get information to people. So, we don’t do things to encourage the wildlife to interact with us,” Jon King, Moraga police chief.

The kickoff for the volunteer program is Friday at Commons Park in Moraga.

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