Coyote in Central Park: 'Large' animal seen strolling through area

A man on an early-morning run on the Upper West Side got quite the shock last weekend when he spotted a large coyote.

Photo credit: Brett Cohn via Storyful

"It stopped me in my tracks completely," said Brett Cohn, a resident of the Upper East Side. "I looked up and I saw a coyote looking right at me."

The coyote was in the Cherry Hill area of the park just north of East 72nd Street. 

"He was definitely inquisitive. It moved kind of around a tree and I kind of went to the other side of the tree and then it moved back around and then it ran away," Cohn said.

Photo credit: Brett Cohn via Storyful

In the video, the ‘large’ animal could be seen moving through the park and looking around.

According to Cohn, the animal was around the size of a large German shepherd. 

"We have no reason to believe this particular coyote is unhealthy or poses a threat to human safety," New York City's Parks Department said in a statement. "However, we advise everyone to keep their distance and avoid close contact."

NYC coyote sightings on the rise

In a 2023 report, officials told FOX 5 NY that coyote sightings were increasing across New York City. Sightings spiked back in 2019 when one was spotted in Central Park.

"We’ve been sort of keeping track of the coyotes with non-invasive methods since 2011," wildlife biologist, Dr. Chris Nagy said.

Nagy is also the co-founder of the Gotham Coyote Project. Since 2010, they’ve been studying coyotes and following their movements without touching or disturbing the animals.

Coyote spotted in Queens

In March 2023, residents of Queens spotted a coyote strolling through the street.

Police responded to the report in the area of 81st Avenue and 257th Street in the Glen Oaks neighborhood. 

Video shared by the New York Police Department’s 105th Precinct showed the animal slowly strolling down a sidewalk. 

Screengrabs shows the coyote found wandering on March 8, 2023, in Queens, New York. (Credit: NYPD 105th Precinct)

The coyote was found wandering on March 8, 2023, in Queens. (Credit: NYPD 105th Precinct)

The animal was later captured and brought to the Sweet Briar Nature Center in Smithtown on Long Island. 

"We found a handful of places where coyotes are breeding. Every spring and summer, they have pups," Nagy said.

Nagy is confident nearly every park in New York City has a coyote camping out.

Coyote rescued from East River

About a month later, one was rescued from the East River.

Police responded to a call of a "distressed dog" battling the currents of the East River.

But when the NYPD's Harbor Unit arrived at the scene, the animal actually turned out to be a coyote.

The coyote was rescued and went into the care of a veterinarian.

"A fed coyote is a dead coyote because one day, that coyote will get used to being fed, he'll approach people who may not want to feed him, or go some place where he's not supposed to be, and that could cause a problem," Nagy said.