Coyotes appear to be becoming a frequent daytime sight in Ahwatukee.
A rash of coyote sightings has been reported over the past week – including one that made local television news and another caught walking with a breakfast rabbit.
Local ABC affiliate Channel 15 broadcast an Ahwatukee resident’s video of two coyotes crossing the street at Ray Road and 48th Street on the evening of March 9 and a Facebook posting of the telecast attracted more than 61,000 views.
A day earlier, around 8:30 a.m., Ahwatukee Board of Management employee Paula Fosbinder photographed a coyote with a rabbit in its mouth walking down Mandan Street between Walatowa and Jicarilla streets.
“We saw the coyote walking with the rabbit, then another followed around Jicarilla towards us on Mandan,” said Anne Marie Hancock, one of Fosbinder’s coworkers. “We joked that it was the pup from the other and he was following to share the meal.”
People on other Ahwatukee social media sites also reported seeing coyotes on Shaughnessy Road and between 29th and 30th avenues in the Foothills Reserve.
“He stood in the middle of the street like he could get a better view from there down the street,” said one poster. “He did look a little lost. Perhaps forced away because of the construction.”
That was a reference to South Mountain Freeway work.
Another resident posted that he sees a coyote nearly every day around Knox Road and 44th Street.
“These are not coyotes coming in from the mountains,” said Amy Burnett, a spokesperson for the Arizona Game & Fish Department. “These are urban coyotes. They live here, they've been here.”
Burnett said parks and neighborhoods offer enough food for the coyotes to survive and that the urban variety probably couldn’t make it in the wild.
“There's all these little things that we are doing as humans to actually influence and bring the coyotes closer,” Burnett said. “We're not necessarily wanting them to be in our backyards but we're actually saying ‘come on in’ and not discouraging them and that’s the real issue here."
Hancock said to her knowledge, the coyotes haven’t created any problems in ABM communities.
Hancock, who with Fosbinder goes around ABM communities inspecting properties, said she has seen coyotes many times recently throughout the day.
“It’s not so much as a problem as it they are more and more prevalent, during the day right out in the open,” she said.
But that’s ok with her. As she explained:
“In my opinion, they were here first."