A coyote drew attention from a few motorists as it trotted along the road near Point Woronzof on Tuesday morning. The animal seemed both skittish and curious of humans in the vicinity. It cautiously approached a car with an open window at one point.
Dave Battle, area biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said the situation is concerning for a species that is spotted infrequently in the city.
“We certainly see them in Anchorage every so often, but we don’t get a lot of reports of them being habituated to humans,” Battle said.
Battle said the department has taken a few reports of a coyote, presumably the same one, in the area of Point Woronzof in recent weeks. Some reports mentioned the animal was unusually close to people.
“We don’t have any solid reports of anybody feeding that coyote, but that is why situations like this get started sometimes,” Battle said. “We don’t like it when any wild animal approaches humans.”
Coyotes are known for their high-pitched howls, and their range in Alaska includes much of the Southeast, Southcentral and Interior parts of the state. They average 22-33 pounds, about a third the size of wolves, and have pointed ears and a bushy tail tipped in black fur. They hunt small animals, like snowshoe hares and rodents.
Battle advised people to keep their pets close, the small ones in particular. Last year, a coyote killed a dog in Seward.
“We definitely want people to give them their space. And don’t feed it,” Battle said.