The reduction in human activity due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and other factors such as the pressure of urban development and deforestation have caused animal species to lose habitat and move towards urban areas, such as coyotes, whose sightings in Costa Rica have become frequent in recent months.
“With fewer people on the streets and in workplaces due to restrictions (on mobility due to the Pandemic), wild animals may be moving beyond their natural habitat, either to expand territory or to search for food, even from the garbage, which is not what they are used to in the forest,” biologist Marco Alfaro declared. “To this factor is added the agricultural and urban expansion that reduces the living spaces of various species”.
One of the animals that have generated the most sightings in Costa Rica during the months that we have been in the Pandemic is the coyote (Canis latrans), a species with a great capacity for adaptation and that, being fearful of humans, takes advantage of the nights and the early mornings to get out of their natural habitat.
At the headquarters of the Technological Institute of Costa Rica, in the city of Cartago (center), the presence of coyotes has become frequent, facilitated by the surrounding forest and the proximity of mountainous areas such as the Irazú Volcano National Park.
Institute security guards have said that coyotes enter the campus at night and in the early mornings, taking advantage of the low presence of humans in recent months due to the suspension of face-to-face classes throughout the country during the Pandemic.
Inhabitants of the city of Cartago (center) have also reported seeing coyotes in the streets, fleeing when they perceive the presence of humans. Similar situations have been reported by residents of other urban communities in Costa Rica, such as Coronado, in the upper part of San José.
Due to the Pandemic, the Government of Costa Rica maintains a restriction on mobility between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., which reduces the human presence on the streets.
Biologists describe the coyote as a species of great adaptability and plasticity, opportunistic characteristics, and a mesopredator (it feeds on smaller animals), which adapts to almost any habitat, which has allowed it to develop a broader resistance to climate change. and to human activity.
In Costa Rica, there are practically no studies on the population of coyotes, an animal whose preferred habitat is the Páramo (highlands), but has been able to adapt to practically any site. This animal can be present in cold areas, high and abundant fog or the heat of low areas. It can also travel long distances and is generally not a danger to humans.
According to biologists, urban development and the expansion of cities have been reducing space for various animal species, which are often forced to leave their habitats in search of food.
In the case of coyotes, they have been seen foraging for food from the garbage and are believed to also hunt for small domestic animals, especially birds such as ducks.