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Coyote Attack at San Francisco Botanical Garden: A Comprehensive Analysis



On September 29, 2023, a harrowing coyote attack occurred at the renowned San Francisco Botanical Garden, sending shockwaves through the city's community. The incident has raised concerns about human-wildlife interactions and the potential risks posed by coyotes in urban environments. This article provides a comprehensive analysis of the attack, exploring its details, the response measures taken, and the broader implications for wildlife management in San Francisco.

The Incident

At approximately 10:30 AM on September 29, a 3-year-old girl named Lily was playing with her parents in the Garden's Rhododendron Dell when she was suddenly attacked by a coyote. The coyote bit Lily multiple times on her face and neck, causing severe injuries. Lily's parents fought off the coyote and rushed their daughter to a nearby hospital, where she underwent several hours of surgery.

Response Measures

Immediately following the attack, San Francisco Animal Care and Control (ACC) and the National Park Service (NPS) launched a joint investigation. The coyote was subsequently located and euthanized for rabies testing, which came back negative.

In response to the incident, ACC implemented several measures to enhance safety in the Botanical Garden and reduce the risk of future attacks. These measures included:

  • Increased ranger patrols and the deployment of wildlife hazing devices
  • Closure of certain areas of the Garden until further notice
  • Distribution of educational materials to visitors about coyote safety
  • Installation of additional signage warning visitors about the presence of coyotes
  • Enhanced communication and coordination with local residents and organizations

Coyote Biology and Behavior

Coyotes are highly adaptable animals that have thrived in both rural and urban environments. Typically weighing between 20 and 50 pounds, they are opportunistic predators that primarily feed on small mammals, but may also attack pets, livestock, and even humans if they feel threatened.

Coyote attacks on humans are relatively rare, but they can occur under certain circumstances, such as when an animal is sick, injured, or has become habituated to human presence. Young children are particularly vulnerable to coyote attacks due to their small size and inability to defend themselves.

Wildlife Management in Urban Environments

The presence of coyotes in urban areas poses unique challenges for wildlife management. While coyotes can provide ecological benefits, such as rodent control, they can also pose a threat to human safety and well-being.

Managing coyotes in urban environments requires a comprehensive approach that includes:

  • Public education and outreach to raise awareness about coyote behavior and safety measures
  • Habitat modification to reduce coyote attractants, such as food and shelter
  • Non-lethal deterrents, such as hazing devices and fencing
  • Lethal removal in extreme cases, such as when a coyote poses an imminent threat to human safety

Community Response

The coyote attack at the Botanical Garden has elicited a strong response from the San Francisco community. Many residents have expressed concern about the safety of their families and pets, as well as the potential impact on the Garden's ecosystem.

Local organizations, such as the San Francisco Coyote Coalition, have advocated for a balanced approach to coyote management that prioritizes both human safety and the well-being of wildlife. They have called for increased education and outreach, as well as measures to reduce human-coyote interactions, such as leashing pets on trails and securing trash cans.


The coyote attack at the San Francisco Botanical Garden serves as a sobering reminder of the challenges associated with managing wildlife in urban environments. While coyotes are an important part of the Bay Area's ecosystem, it is essential to take appropriate measures to minimize the risk of human-wildlife conflicts.

Through a combination of public education, habitat modification, non-lethal deterrents, and responsible wildlife management, we can create a balance that allows both humans and coyotes to coexist safely and harmoniously in the city.

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