3 coyotes killed at Golden Gate Park after girl attacked

California wildlife officials said they are testing the remains of three coyotes to determine if one of them bit a child in San Francisco last week.

Coyotes are a common sight at Golden Gate Park, but on Friday a wildlife encounter took a frightening turn when a 5-year-old girl was bitten by one at the San Francisco Botanical Garden.

"It's pretty rare for this to happen, but it does unfortunately happen on occasion," said Patrick Foy with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

Officials said the girl is recovering.

The CDFW shot and killed three coyotes in the botanical garden over the weekend. Experts are conducting DNA analysis on the remains and comparing them to samples collected from the young girl after the attack.

"We swab into the location where the animal's teeth penetrated the little girl's skin. You're looking for traces of coyote DNA," explained Foy.

The botanical garden was later reopened, though families there on Monday said they were alarmed at what happened.


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"We were a little worried. We saw some signs warning us about coyotes, but we figured we'd just keep our eyes open and stay away if we see them," said visitor Jesse Gage.

Wildlife officials strongly suggest that people don't interact with coyotes.

"That involves shouting aggressively at it. Throwing things at it, even or at least making it feel uncomfortable," said Foy. "The worst thing you can do is to make it feel comfortable even by feeding it which is one of the worst things you can do for a coyote to coexist with people."

Visitors said it's a message they have taken to heart.

"We just try to stay away. Don't feed them. Don't interact with them. Maybe look at them, but stay away," said Gage.

Friday's incident was not the first coyote incident at Golden Gate Park. In 2021, a coyote stalked a child there.