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April 27, 2018

Pennsylvania Game Commission euthanizes coyote caught in Philadelphia

Wildlife Coyote
Coy wolf PPD Source/Philadelphia Police Department

Coyote captured in Mayfair section of Northeast Philadelphia on Monday, April 23, 2018.

Two coyote incidents over the past week have created something of a craze in Philadelphia, where whispers and sightings of hybrid "coywolves" have been on the rise in recent years.

Sadly, the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced Friday that it made the difficult decision to euthanize the coyote captured by state wildlife officials on Thursday morning in South Philadelphia.

"Three days after a coyote was captured by police in Philadelphia and released nearby at the 1,600-acre Pennypack Park, a coyote was captured in Philadelphia by the Game Commission," said a statement posted on Facebook. "The animal was displaying behavior consistent with being habituated to humans and it was determined that euthanization was the best course of action in the interest of public safety. The Game Commission does not take such decisions lightly. As an agency, we strive to keep wildlife wild and we care deeply about the wild birds and mammals of this commonwealth."

It was not clear whether the coyote captured Monday in Northeast Philadelphia's Mayfair neighborhood was the same as the coyote caught Thursday in South Philadelphia. The animals bear a striking resemblance to one another as seen in photographs, but officials couldn't definitively say they were the same.

A Game Commission spokesperson told CBS3 they initially hoped to release the coyote into the wild, but chose euthanization for the sake of public safety. The coyote's demeanor was deemed “highly unusual, too friendly and docile.”

If the coyote were to roam about in public, the Game Commission's logic is that it might be mistaken for a domesticated dog, treated as such and potentially turn aggressive.

Given the animal's docility, it begs the question why the Game Commission didn't seek an alternative solution at an animal sanctuary or with a specialized trainer, at a minimum. The Game Commission couldn't be reached Friday afternoon to further explain the decision to euthanize the coyote.