You can no longer feed wild animals in the Palatine unless with a raised bird feeder, as part of new measures carried out by the village council on Monday to curb the presence of coyotes in the town.
“This should help us when we get the annoying problems within some neighborhoods,” Village Administrator Reid Ottesen told the council.
Coyotes are attracted by the presence of other wild animals and the food left for them. Meetings of wild animals can also increase the chance of disease transmission between animals and to humans, village officials said.
Residents are welcome to continue feeding birds with raised feeders, but must clean seeds that fall to the ground under the new ordinance, Police Chief Dave Daigle said Tuesday.
“When it comes to feeding raccoons, didelphs and ducks and everything else, we’re really trying to avoid that,” he said.
The village hired a coyote specialist in January who worked on catching annoying coyotes, which means bold, aggressive. The specialist, Rob Erikson of Scientific Wildlife Management, received 324 online reports of coyote sightings from January to March and removed 15 coyotes from the Palatine, Daigle said.
“Since this started and he started his field work, we have seen a noticeable decrease in coyote sightings and complaints,” Daigle said, adding that the effort will continue until the end of the year.
Erikson and Scientific Wildlife Management did not respond to a survey Tuesday by the Daily Herald.
Daigle explained that Erikson aims to catch coyotes to get rid of them. But when capture fails, he frequents shooting them.
Daigle said he knows one coyote is shot in the backyard of a home just south of Deer Grove Forest Preserve, after six failed attempts to capture it. The homeowner complained of sightings of a coyote, Daigle said.
Daigle added that the backyard where the coyote was shot was a place where someone was feeding animals.
“(Erikson) knew (that the coyote) was so used to it that he needed to take it out,” he said.
A nearby resident who heard the shot complained at the village council. In response, police asked Erikson to warn them when he plans to shoot a coyote for an officer to be present.
Erikson uses a .22 caliber rifle with subsonic bullets that travel below the sound speed and are not as loud as regular bullets, Daigle said. The bullets are uncontrollable, meaning they remain placed in the animal’s body, he added.
Erikson told the village that there is an unusually high number of sick coyotes in the Palatine compared to nearby communities.
“For example, those from Rolling Meadows have good amounts of fat around the liver – that’s the indication of a healthy animal,” Daigle said. “Each of us didn’t have fat reserves and had other diseases.”
Two puppies were killed by coyotes in December and January in the Palatine, but no attacks have been reported on humans.
The goal now is to find out what causes the palatine coyotes to get sick, Daigle said.
“(Erikson) hopes that will generate interest and a study will be done,” he said.