A coyote found roaming downtown Philadelphia Thursday has been euthanized.
Authorities feared the docile nature of an animal that normally avoids humans was abnormal behavior that could make it dangerous, the Pennsylvania Game Commission said in a statement.
“The Game Commission did not take this decision lightly,” the agency said in a tweet Friday. “We strive to keep wildlife wild and we care deeply about the state’s wildlife.”
The animal was taken into custody Thursday morning in Philadelphia’s Southwest Center City neighborhood, where it briefly evaded its captors by hiding under a blue dumpster near Edward Stanton Elementary School.
It is unclear if the coyote was the same one captured earlier this week in Mayfair and released in Pennypack Park.
On Monday, Philadelphia police officers cornered a coyote, trapping it between their squad cars and a chain-link fence near Vogt Park and Roosevelt Playground.
Coyotes have been spotted in suburban areas with increasing frequency, but a sighting in the city is less common. The animals are typically nocturnal and do not seek out human interaction.
Believing it may have gotten lost, officials released the coyote into Pennypack Park, where it could make its way into the woods of Montgomery County.
“This just happened to be a coyote that wandered off and probably got lost,” Jerry Czech, a game warden for the state game commission, said Monday.
But when a coyote made an appearance in the city for the second time this week, game authorities decided they needed to elevate their response.
The animal “appeared habituated to humans,” the commission said in a tweet, and gaming authorities determined euthanizing it was “the best course of action in the interest of public safety.”
The coyote captured in Phili appeared habituated to humans. Euthanasia was determined the best course of action in the interest of public safety. The Game Commission did not take this decision lightly. We strive to keep wildlife wild and we care deeply about the state's wildlife.
— PA Game Commission (@PAGameComm) April 27, 2018
According to the Humane Society of America, coyotes generally become “habituated to humans” — meaning they are not scared of people and may even approach them — when they have eaten handouts, pet food left outside, or unsecured garbage. But that trait does not make an animal dangerous, according to the Humane Society.
However, unusual behavior, such as acting abnormally tame or a nocturnal animal being out in daylight, could be a sign of rabies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.