News Release

Wildlife Feeding in the Seashore—Coyote Kills Pet Dog, Rangers Kill Coyote

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Date: May 26, 2020
Contact: Superintendent Brian Carlstrom, 508-957-0701

WELLFLEET, Mass.—After several days of attempting to haze coyotes at Herring Cove Beach, on the evening of May 25 park rangers shot and killed a coyote that had been acting aggressively around people and was observed killing a puppy that was off leash approximately 40 feet away from its owners. A coyote also bit a visitor on May 23, but it is not confirmed if it is the same coyote that killed the dog on May 25.

”This is a sad event,” said Superintendent Brian Carlstrom. “No one wants to have their day at the national seashore end in this manner, and our rangers take no pleasure in killing a wild animal. Unfortunately, scenes like this play out frequently in national parks. People don’t understand the implications of approaching or feeding wildlife, often leading to tragic consequences for the public and the animals.”

Beginning in March, coyotes had begun to congregate at Herring Cove again, where periodically over the years, people have left out dog food and fish heads to feed the animals. Recently, the National Park Service stepped up signage, social media messaging, and patrols to warn the public, and the Town of Provincetown also provided warnings that people should keep their distance from these wild animals. Park rangers were able to identify the animal through paintball markings made during varied efforts over the past many days to scare the animal away. As a reminder, pets always need to be leashed at the national seashore. A leashed pet protects wildlife and protects the pet.

It is illegal to feed, disturb, or harass wildlife in national parks. Animals that are fed often lose their fear of people, becoming unpredictable and aggressive in attempts to gain food. This can lead to serious injury to people and destruction of the wild animal. In addition, feeding draws more animals in, resulting in unnaturally high populations, competition for human-provided food, and aggressive behavior.

There is enough natural food to support wildlife in the national seashore; feeding is unnecessary and harmful.

In addition to issues with coyotes at Herring Cove, there are ongoing issues with feeding songbirds and geese at Beech Forest, and a visitor was recently cited for feeding a fox at Province Lands Visitor Center.

The public is reminded to remain distant from wild animals; to keep children close and pets leashed; and to not feed or leave food out for wildlife. Rangers will continue to cite offenders.


Last updated: May 26, 2020

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