Northbrook resident worries about well-being of coyote kept at the center of nature
Concern for the health and well-being of a coyote residing at the River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook prompted a local resident to take legal action to have the animal transferred to a Colorado sanctuary. Nicole Milan from Northbrook became concerned about the coyote after observing its behavior in its enclosure at the Nature Center, which is part of the Cook County Forest Preserve. With the help of a lawyer, she requested that the coyote be voluntarily returned to the care of the Wild Animal Sanctuary, a licensed rehabilitation center located on 10,000 acres in Keenesburg, Colorado.
“He never gets out of that cage, and it’s small, he does an eight in there,” said Milan. “There is no place for him to run and exercise, it is not a natural environment for him at all.”
The male coyote, now 4, was found as a puppy with his siblings under a patio in Tennessee, and was mistaken for a domesticated dog, said Carl Vogel, director of communications for the Forest Preserve. Cook County. When he was discovered he was so young he barely had his eyes open, and it wasn’t until he was prepared for adoption by an animal shelter, where he spent three weeks, that he turned out to be a wild coyote, he said. .
An attempt to rehabilitate the coyote to release it into the wild failed because by that time it had been imprinted by human contact, so it was moved to the county and placed in the care of professionals, including the Nature center staff, veterinarians and a wildlife biologist with 30 years of experience who includes working with urban coyotes, said Vogel.
“It’s used to being around people,” Vogel said. “You could say that the staff who take care of him every day and who accompany him are part of his pack”
The size of the coyote’s enclosure meets USDA and Illinois law requirements, and it receives regular care and attention from staff, Vogel said.
Milan recognizes that the coyote can never be released into the wild due to its human footprint. She is concerned about the size of the enclosure, what she perceives as minimal available shelter, and the fact that the coyote is isolated.
“They are beasts of burden; they shouldn’t be in captivity like that,” said Milan.
At the Colorado sanctuary, the coyote would be rehabilitated and would be with other members of its species, she said.
A letter from Michigan attorney Alec Torigian, provided by Milan, requested a response about the voluntary surrender by December 20, but Vogel said no action would be taken before the holidays.