RICHMOND, Va. – Though cameras have been in the James River Park system since 2014, it wasn’t until recently that those wily coyotes were finally photographed.
“Two years of game camera work finally confirm Canis latrans as a player in the park fauna,” wrote Science in the Park, which is a collaborative effort between numerous organizations and individuals to provide educational materials about the JRPS.
The game camera project has now captured two wild canid species, the first being the Vulpes vulpes – a red fox – which was filmed on the train tracks about two months ago.
It has been long believed that coyotes were in the park system, and they have certainly been spotted in the near West End, near the river, as well as in neighborhoods south of the river.
The cameras appear to have filmed the coyotes in September, October and November.
Jeff Trollinger, with the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said anyone who frequents the park shouldn’t panic about the coyotes, as they can be found all throughout Virginia.
“They are becoming more and more populated, they moved in on their own from the West,” said Trollinger.
However, Trollinger did say it is important to be aware of your surroundings.
“If you encounter wildlife, keep it at a distance,” he said, “Most wildlife will not approach people.”
Coyotes are mostly active at night, but Trollinger also added that you should not leave your small pets outside unattended, as they could be a target.
“Coyotes roam all through our neighborhoods, even if you’re not close to the park,” said Trollinger.
Amy Wright, who oversees Science in the Park, told the local paper that the images seem to show two different coyotes. "We've been looking for them for a freaking year and a half,” she said in an interview with the RTD.
According to residents near Pony Pasture, coyotes have been recently heard and seen.
“This guy crossed Longview from the Jamgochian quarry right in front of me last night as I turned in to my driveway ,” wrote George Hastings on Facebook. “It trotted down into the wet bottom land on my property just a block from the Pony Pasture!”
“Last month, My friend saw one crossing forest hill near pineway,” wrote Angela Worris
“I woke up to blood curdling cries last Thursday morning (1 am) and saw a coyote,” wrote Patty Parks. “This was on Riverside Drive midway between 26th and 28th.”