by Mike Parks
The Natural Resources division of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation is asking people in south Charlotte to help put coyote sightings in the area to good use.
The division recently established a website aimed at allowing people to report coyote sightings while giving them information about what’s becoming more of an issue for local residents. The sightings residents report will give the division more information in mapping the growing population of coyotes.
Barbara Navarro, a resident of south Charlotte’s Cameron Wood, said her neighborhood has been dealing with coyotes for some years now and is working to help the county in its efforts.
“We’ve had problems … with them coming off the McMullen (Creek) Greenway and trying to jump fences to get at small dogs, and have had a number of cats go missing,” Navarro said of the coyotes in an email to South Charlotte Weekly.
Chris Matthews, natural resources manager for the county, said coyote sightings are likely to become more and more prevalent in south Charlotte as more of the animals move in and breed. Coyotes are wide spread across the area now, Matthews said, and they have no natural predators in the area. Until recently, house cats have been the main predator in the Charlotte area, Matthews said.
And while many have voiced concern about the growth in numbers of coyotes, and attacks on small pets, Matthews said the animals could be a key factor in reducing the “unhealthily large” deer population in Charlotte.
To report a sighting, people can go to the new website, http://charmeck.org/mecklenburg/county/ParkandRec/StewardshipServices/NaturalResources/Pages/Coyote.aspx, and click Report a Coyote Sighting. Doing so will give the county a better means of judging the population size and locating “hot spots” where groups of coyotes are living, Matthews said.
Navarro, in her email to South Charlotte Weekly, said there may be another community meeting on the matter to update locals soon.