PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. - The birth of four pups in Nassau County earlier this year marks a significant milestone for the coyote population on Long Island.
Wild Dog Foundation director Frank Vincenti educates people on how to coexist with wildlife. Through research, he has pinpointed that established groups are in western Nassau County, a possible group is on the North Fork in Suffolk County, and the rest of the coyotes, known as transients, wander about freely.
"There's about 15 of them," Vincenti said. "There's about three established family groups."
His organization is one of nearly a dozen nonprofits and government agencies that make up the new Long Island Coyote Study Group.
"Long Island is one of the last major blocks of landscape that hasn't had them until very recently," said Michael Bottini, a wildlife biologist with Seatuck Environmental Association.
Biologists expect the coyotes to easily integrate into habitats across Long Island and fully colonize within a decade or two.
As for conflicts and confrontations, experts explain they can easily be avoided.
"If we get people to not feed or tame them we have most of the problem solved," Hofstra University biology professor Russell Burke said. "When people see them, we scare them — make loud noises and they'll run away."
The Long Island Coyote Study Group has found that pups typically disperse around October but this newest litter is expected to stick around with their parents for the winter before traveling up to 100 miles in any direction to find a new home.
"They strike out in whatever direction appeals to them and they keep going until they find a habitat they like," Burke said.
We better get used to our newest neighbors because experts predict they aren't going anywhere anytime soon.