CHICAGO — Authorities on Thursday were on the hunt for coyotes in downtown Chicago after two reported attacks, including one in which passersby said they pulled a wild canine off a 6-year-old boy who was bitten in the head.
The reported attacks come amid an increase in sightings of coyotes in the nation’s third-largest city, including one in the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood that briefly prompted the soft lockdown of two schools on Thursday, meaning no children were allowed outside. Neither the boy nor a man who showed up at a hospital with what he said was a coyote bite suffered life-threatening injuries.
Officials think the animal that attacked the boy was a coyote, based on witness interviews, Kelley Gandurski, executive director of the Chicago Animal Care and Control, told reporters.
If true, it would mark the first time in the state that a coyote has attacked a human, according to a wildlife biologist with the Urban Coyote Research Project.
“The last several times that this occurred, people reported the same thing, that they were bitten by a coyote, and days and weeks later it turned out through DNA analysis of the victim’s clothing it was, in fact, dogs and not coyotes,” said Anchor, who also works for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, where Chicago is located.
The6-year-old boy was attacked Wednesday outside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park. Gandurski said the animal may have been surprised by the boy as the child ran along a path.
Later Wednesday, a man walked into the emergency room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital with a scratch on his buttocks, police said. He told police a coyote bit him, but Gandurski could not confirm his account because her staff had not yet interviewed him.