Saturday, April 01, 2006

Central Park coyote dies during tagging

This pathetic news, from the CNN website, was sent in by Judy Glattstein. An informative letter from a California correspondent who heard the news follows the story
The Central Park coyote, after capture
Photo appeared with the AP news story

Friday, March 31, 2006; Posted: 4:58 p.m. EST (21:58 GMT)

ALBANY, New York (AP) -- Hal, the coyote who paid a visit to New York City and was captured as he loped around Central Park, died as he was being tagged for release in the wild, a state official said Friday.

The coyote stopped breathing Thursday night during the routine tagging procedure and biologists could not revive him, said Gabrielle DeMarco, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Pathologists were trying to determine whether the stress of his capture or captivity or something else contributed to the death of the year-old, 35-pound coyote.

The coyote, nicknamed Hal by park workers, led dozens of police officers on foot and in a helicopter on a wild chase through the urban greenery March 21 and 22. He jumped into the water, ducked under a bridge and leaped over an 8-foot fence.

Hal was finally caught when a police officer shot the animal with a tranquilizer dart.

Officials had taken Hal from a wildlife rehabilitation expert in Long Island on Thursday and had planned to release him in a state forest in upstate New York.

How Hal reached Central Park is a mystery. He may have wandered into the city from the suburbs, or perhaps crossed the Hudson River from New Jersey by way of a bridge or a passing truck.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Sorry about the Coyote was the subject line on the following e-mail I just received from Steve Watson, a California scientist who keeps up with Central Park happenings:

Understand he died during handling for release. Capture stress and mortality are always a concern, as I understand it. I was told that capture stress-related mortalities in pronghorn fawn (2 of them a couple of years ago) are why NPS halted the pronghorn fawn mortality study in Yellowstone. Once in a great while a wolf will expire during handling (which is why the biologists want to absolutely minimize handling time, especially for a drugged animal...they work quickly and efficiently, work them up, then leave and watch from a distance as they come out of it...very professional).

Shame that he didn't make it...I was rooting for him to be released into the wild and live a free, natural existence...