IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) --Though coyote encounters are not uncommon in the Southland, there has been a recent increase in sightings.
Last year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife responded six times to coyotes biting people in Irvine alone. More reports have also appeared in nearby areas this past month.
"We have had some bites on humans in L.A. and Orange County," said Niamh Quinn, human-wildlife interactions adviser for University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. "In the past number of weeks we did have some in Commerce and two in Diamond Bar and one I believe in Orange."
Due to limited historical data, it is difficult to determine if coyotes are attacking more humans.
Quinn seeks to gather more information and has created a website which monitors coyote encounters with people or pets.
Coyote Cacher includes a survey and a map with information, in addition to real-time email alerts.
Levels of encounters are categorized as:
- Green - sighting
- Yellow - attacked a pet off leash
- Red - attacked or killed pet on leash/bit a human
The more people post their encounters on the website, the more data is available for researchers. The hope is to provide better solutions for those living in close proximity to coyotes.
"Our aim is not to cause any panic," Quinn assured. "We just want to inform citizens that there is activity in their area and we want them to keep their pets on (a) leash and make changes to their home if possible."