By Richard L. Gaw
The Kennett Township Police Department has received three reports of an Eastern Coyote being seen in the eastern and southeastern regions of the township.
According to officer Lydell Nolt, reports of the coyote began on June 3, when residents began seeing the animal near Greenwood Road, Longwood Road and Millbrook Drive. The coyote, the reports said, appears to be the size of a large German Shepherd, and that it has been seen in the early morning and daytime hours.
No area businesss or schools have closed, and a modified recess schedule at the Greenwood Elementary School, recently in effect, has now been lifted.
In a conversation Nolt had with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, a commission representative said that the population of the Eastern Coyote in Chester County is on the rise. Declared one of the state's major predators, Eastern Coyotes first arrived in Pennsylvania in the 1930s, and there is evidence that it is becoming as common as raccoons, skunks and groundhogs.
Pennsylvania's coyotes first occupied the wilder, more rural regions of the northern half of the state, but by the 1980s, the animal began to spread south. By 2003, there were between 25,000 and 30,000 coyotes in the state.
In recent years, the Game Commission has received increasing reports of the damage that Eastern Coyotes have caused -- mostly destroying garbage receptacles or attacking smaller wild animals, or household pets that are left outdoors. Although the animal is not likely to attack humans, one man was attacked by a group of coyotes in Dauphin County in the 1990s and sustained several flesh wounds.
Officer Nolt strongly advises that if a resident spots a coyote in the Kennett Township vicinity or beyond, leave it alone and most importantly, do not feed it. If a resident spots a coyote, Nolt recommends that he or she contact either the Township Police at 610-388-2874, or the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Southeastern office at 610-926-3136.