Coyotes prowl Audubon Park, possibly threaten zoo animals

Coyotes prowl Audubon Park, possibly threaten zoo animals
Published: Aug. 18, 2015 at 1:14 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2015 at 8:11 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Lurking under the cover of night, coyotes prowl Audubon Park, and administrators want the predators gone.

"The real concern about coyotes is if you have small pets, a coyote sees that as a source of food," trapper John Schmidt said.

The park recently hired Schmidt to eradicate the problem. Schmidt said zoo administrators want the coyotes stopped before they find their way inside the zoo and prey on the caged animals. 
"I've seen five [coyotes] and three out of the five I've captured," Schmidt said. "I've been hired to do nutria [at Audubon Park] on quite a few occasions and now when I'm out there doing coyotes, I've noticed I've only see one nutria."

Most people at the park Monday were unaware of the coyotes but were not surprised.

"It's kind of to be expected to me. You might hear anything around this area," Walter Parker said.

"I mean, I wouldn't be too afraid of coyotes but if I had animals, I'd be afraid for them," Matthew Hallowell said.

This is not the first sighting of coyotes in the city. People have reported the animals in Lakeview, City Park and other areas.
Trapper John said the coyotes he catches are euthanized because state law forbids him from releasing them back into the wild.

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