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New Orleans dealing with coyote problem

July 12, 2011 at 12:43 PM

NEW ORLEANS, July 12 (UPI) -- Spring flooding and Hurricane Katrina may be factors in reports of coyotes attacking and eating family pets in New Orleans, wildlife officials say.

Areas decimated by the 2005 hurricane became suitable habitat for the coyotes, says Kenny Ribbeck, chief of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' wildlife division.

As the areas are reclaimed and rebuilt, it brings people into contact with the animals, Ribbeck told Accuweather.com.

The presence of coyotes in New Orleans is not a new phenomenon, Ribbeck says, but as people move back into the areas they are noticing them more.

The coyotes have been blamed for eating cats and other pets that stay out at night.

Officials say they are looking at different non-lethal options to deal with the coyotes, including trapping and educating residents about "hazing" the animals by making loud noises and threatening gestures when they see them.

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