Help is on the way for Westchester Coyote

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Help is on the way for a coyote that has been roaming the streets of the Westchester neighborhood in Downtown Bakersfield for more than a month.

Officers have been watching this particular coyote for a year, according to Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The department said he appears to have sarcoptic mange, a skin disease caused by a parasitic mite that burrows into the skin. The highly-contagious disease is passed by direct contact from animal to animal.

While Fish and Wildlife said their biologist and wildlife officers are monitoring the situation closely,  their department does not “generally intervene on coyote issues unless there is a public safety threat, which means a coyote has bitten somebody or a bite or attack appears imminent.”

So is there hope for the contagious canine?

Possibly.

Prompted by a groundswell of public concern after our stories, one resident reached out to Wildlife Care of Southern California, a non-profit located in Simi Valley that rehabilitates and releases injured and orphaned wild animals.

“That’s what I specialize in are coyotes,” Anna Reams with Wildlife Care of Southern California said. “We’ve been doing this for the last two years and we have treated more than 40 coyotes with mange, most of those being in the field”.

Reams and her team plan to travel to Bakersfield Sunday to treat the coyote.

“Bakersfield is two hours from us, so I literally have to have all our ducks in a row,” Reams said. “We have to have as much information as possible and then we just show up in the morning. We try to follow his tracks and with any luck we are going to end up in the same area with him.”

The treatment is a one time medication that starts working within hours.

“Those animal will feel better within the first day,” Reams said. “All that crud, the mites are killed the first day, all the crud starts to fall off.”  

The wildlife organization needs help from the community. They ask that you do not feed or follow him, but if you do spot the canine from now until Sunday you are asked to email Reams at annareams@gmail.com

If you see the Coyote on Sunday, you can call Reams directly at 805-428-7105.

17 News reached out to The Department of Fish and Wildlife and they released the following statement:

Our biologists and wildlife officers in the Bakersfield area are monitoring the situation closely.
 
We have been keeping an eye on this particular coyote for a year now so we are very familiar with it. The coyote has not presented a danger or nuisance to anyone. It is fully mobile, not debilitated in any way, very aware of its surroundings, etc. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife does not generally intervene on coyote issues unless there is a public safety threat – which means a coyote has bitten somebody or a bite or attack appears imminent.
 
This coyote appears to have a case of sarcoptic mange. Over the past five years, the southern part of the San Joaquin Valley has been dealing with an outbreak of sarcoptic mange, which is highly contagious, and due to the close proximity and the high number of foxes and coyotes it’s very common among these species in Bakersfield, unfortunately. Sarcoptic mange is a skin disease caused by a parasitic mite that burrows into the skin. The disease is is passed by direct contact from animal to animal.
 
Sarcoptic mange is an ugly disease, but the reality is that it is often very difficult to catch these infected animals until they are very weak. Treatment and recovery is possible in a rehabilitation facility but the downside is that the animals can get reinfected with mites about a month after release as the best treatment available lasts only about a month. Controlling or eliminating mange from the entire coyote and fox population in Bakersfield is not feasible nor possible.
 
Coyotes very rarely present any kind of public safety threat – though they are a real threat to pets and small livestock. We want to remind the public that feeding wildlife is illegal and to be vigilant in securing trash and keeping pets indoors and safe so they don’t become coyote prey. Food sources, more often than not, are what attract coyotes to residential neighborhoods such as Westchester and keep them there. Coyotes otherwise would much prefer to avoid people altogether.
 
Feeding coyotes or trying to help coyotes can be dangerous as the association of food with people increases the risk of being bitten or attacked by a wild animal seeking food – especially if that animal is sick.

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