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More coyotes in West Michigan

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Coyotes are opportunistic animals. They'll just as soon go after your cat as they would a rabbit in the wild.

So if you live in an area where coyotes are abundant, you might see them as a nuisance.

Kaitlin Shawgo of the Grand Rapids Press writes about coyotes on the rise in West Michigan.

In the piece, Sara Schaefer with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment says the numbers are up in that part of the state:

"There's no doubt that the coyote population is up. In almost all areas I cover in southwest Michigan, they’re up."

Residents in Allegan County have complained about coyotes going after their pets or other animals they raise on their land.

And the animals are about to get more active, so people in some cities might see the animals turn up. The DNRE says "people are more likely to see coyotes during the breeding season which occurs in Michigan from mid-January into March."

A few years back, Lester Graham reported on coyotes living in Chicago for the Environment Report. One person in Arlington Heights watched as a coyote snatched their Yorkshire Terrier off of their patio.

Graham spoke with Justin Brown who was on a research project for Ohio State University.  Brown said the animals learn to adapt to the city:

"We’ve actually seen animals where they’re actually figuring out traffic patterns. They know which roads are going which ways. We’ll see them cross roads where they’ll actually look only the direction traffic should be coming and then go and then stop in the middle and look in the other direction for traffic and then go. So, they’ve definitely figured out how the road systems work. It’s just amazing to see how they survive in this environment."

Depending on local laws, some residents in Michigan can hire hunters to track and kill coyotes that are threatening their pets or livestock.

Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.