New app gives real-time warnings of coyote sightings

VISTA, Calif.  – All around San Diego, coyote sightings are on the rise.  Just days ago, Mike Fleming came face to face with an entire family of coyotes right down the street from his Vista home.

“They jumped a fence into the neighbor’s property and they rushed the flock of crows,” said Fleming.

He said lately he’s noticed more coyote sightings, sometimes even during the day.

“Almost daily,” said Fleming. “Neighbors around here, somebody’s going to see them.”

Fleming said he worries about the safety of pets in the neighborhood.

“Telephone poles around here have pictures of missing cats and missing small dogs on them all the time,” said Fleming.

Now, there’s a free app to help. Coyote Cacher, which was started by the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, helps collect information on coyote encounters in California.

Once users register, they can update the database with time and exact location where a coyote was last seen.  The app even breaks down sightings by neighborhood, down to the zip code.

Residents can even get real-time warnings on their phones.

Dr.  Niamh Quinn, a Human Wildlife Interactions Advisor who helped develop the app, said this time of year is prime for coyote activity and sightings.

“This is what’s called dispersal season, it’s when a juvenile leaves the den to begin a life of their own,” said Dr. Quinn.  “They’ll look for other mates and other coyotes to link up with.”

“My son came home and saw the coyote running down the street with my cat in its mouth,” said Fleming.

A year ago, he said he lost his cat to a coyote attack.  It’s why he’s now installed a coyote warning system on his property.

“They have springs on their feet and they just hop over my fence,” said Fleming.

He said he’s definitely looking into Coyote Cacher and he may even spread the word to his neighbors.

“They’re opportunistic.  They are very, very, very good hunters and predators,” said Fleming.  “More information is better, I think it’s a great idea.”