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Coyote attacks Kennecott security guard


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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Wildlife officials are perplexed about a coyote attack at the Kennecott Copper mines Monday night that left a security guard with bites on her arm.

Coyote's are small and lean animals that only prey on smaller animals and generally don't attack anything larger than they are. So why did this security guard become a victim?

Kennecott Biologist Ann Neville says both sides of the security guard's shed were open, but she never intended to welcome the wild animal. Nevertheless, the animal got in and lunged at her, and she was bit in the arm as she raised it to protect herself.

Her colleagues called Unified Police.

"It was actually coming toward them in a very uncharacteristic manner," Neville said. "They shot it twice and it was killed." The corpse will be examined for rabies and other diseases to determine if the security guard is at risk of infection.

The coyote could have been spooked into an unfamiliar land, or just so hungry that it hoped that the security guard would be an easy meal. Regardless, coyotes don't usually act like this.

What to do in case of an attack
Attacks from coyotes are so rare that Utah doesn't even keep track.

If a coyote approaches you, experts say to:
  • Scream
  • Make yourself bigger
  • Pick up a rock and hurl it.

"Coyotes in general are going to be wary of people, they're going to stay away from people," said John Shivik, mammal program coordinator at the Division of Wildlife Resources. "It's not common for them to be aggressive at all."

But it's not a good idea to approach any wildlife, including coyotes. Shivik says they can be territorial and aggressive with smaller pets and dogs, leading people to think they are being attacked when in reality it's their pet the animal is after,

Kennecott has 100,000 acres in the southwest Salt Lake Valley where mountain lions, elk, deer, fox, bobcat, coyotes, deer and wild turkeys roam.

"It's actually one of the perks to working out here for Kennecott," Neville said.

The security guard was treated for her wounds and released. She'll be back to work Tuesday night.

Photos

Peter Samore

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