Updated 1:55 p.m.
BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO
A “well-fed” coyote made its way onto the roof of a Long Island City bar Monday morning before escaping into a nearby building, according to witnesses.
The establishment’s owner, Brian Porter of LIC Bar, received a text message and photo that morning from a tenant above the bar alerting him to the wild animal.
When he arrived at the 45-58 Vernon Blvd. bar and saw the coyote hanging out beneath his air conditioning unit, he immediately noticed it looked liked a “well-fed animal.”
“It stood out that this animal, this coyote was pretty big. And it didn’t look like he was hungry,” he said.
Porter called police and animal control was contacted, and they tried to capture the coyote with tranquilizer guns and catching poles. A veterinarian from a nearby clinic also went up to inspect, thinking the animal might be a dog, but quickly backed off once she saw it was a coyote.
The animal eventually escaped into a window of the old Paragon Paint building, according to Porter, who believes the coyote got onto the roof by coming through a broken window of that building, which is adjacent to his bar.
He doesn’t know how the animal wandered into the neighborhood, but insists the rooftop visit wasn’t a clever publicity move.
That evening The Coyote Anderson Quartet was scheduled to perform at LIC Bar.
“It would be a little bit of a stretch if I was trying to pull that off as a PR stunt,” Porter said.
And even though the animal caused some chaos on Monday, this isn’t the first time a coyote has made it into the Big Apple.
Recent sightings of the four-legged animal go back to last year when a park-goer spotted a coyote in the Bronx, according to the NY Daily News. Another coyote was caught in January as it found itself trapped in an Upper West Side basketball court, according to the New York Post.
Coyotes started to be seen in northern New York in the 1930s, according to The New York Times, and by 1994 were noticed in the Bronx.
According to Park officials, three Bronx parks are now each home to a coyote family and there is a solitary coyote permanently living in Railroad Park in Jamaica, The Times said.
The Parks Department now plans to educate the public by posting fliers and distributing cards that outline “Five Easy Tips for Coyote Coexistence,” The Times reported. Some tips include not feeding the coyotes, storing food and garbage in animal-proof containers, and if approached by one you should “act big and make loud noises.”
Mary Pearl, the provost at Macaulay Honors College, who has a doctorate in wildlife biology, said coyotes can thrive in human habitation.
“They can eat everything and anything,” she said, including pet food, rodents, stray cats and dogs, and even berries and insects in the spring and summer.
Pearl, noting that a witness said the animal looked far from scrawny, said March and April was birthing season, and the building may be a good retreat for an expectant mother. But she added male coyotes can travel great distances.
Her best guess was that the coyote found its way to Long Island City via railroad tracks or possibly a parkway.
Despite recent sightings in the city, Pearl cautions that they are not infestation, since the creatures distribute themselves sparsely, and the animals help our ecosystem by getting rid of rodents and roadkill.
“Too often we have a response when we see wildlife in our midst that they should be removed,” she said.
“[Coyotes] don’t inundate a place, but it’s just surprising.”
Field staff from the Animal Care & Control of NYC visited the location, spoke to a witness and searched the area, but no additional sightings have been reported. Coyote sightings should be reported to 311, and but any animal “presenting imminent public safety risk” should be reported to 911.
Members of the community are being advised that if they come in contact or see the animal they should call the police immediately and not attempt to capture it.
Officers out of the 108th Precinct have been instructed to remain vigilant for the coyote while they are on patrol.