Same coyote linked to two Moraga attacks

Two coyote attacks in Moraga this year have been linked to the same animal using DNA technology.

Kenji Sytz was working out with friends on the morning of Dec. 4 at the Campolindo High School football field when he was bit. He said he was doing push up when he felt pain and turned to see a coyote latched onto his left calf.

“It turned into a sharp pain in milliseconds,” Sytz said. “I leaned and kind of gave it a backhanded punch and it freed up off my leg, but what was shocking is that it didn't run off.”

Sytz said he and his friends began yelling and the coyote eventually ran away. He drove himself to the hospital and later talked with an officer from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. The officer took Sytz’s workout pants in hopes of pulling a saliva sample from the bite marks in the clothing.

Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Captain Patrick Foy said using those small traces of DNA, the agency determined the coyote that attacked Sytz is the same coyote that bit a 2-year-old boy in the leg at Moraga Commons Park in July.

“In this year alone, 2020, we’ve had 7 coyote attacks and 3 mountain lion attacks, which is also extremely rare,” Foy said.

Foy said the CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, along with other groups, worked together to trap 4 coyotes in the Moraga area in the past week. All four coyotes have been euthanized. Three were determined not be a match with their DNA sample. Testing is underway at a state lab in Sacramento to determine if the fourth coyote captured is the one linked to the boy and Styz’s attacks.

Styz is relieve to know there is one aggressive coyote and not multiple, but said he’s saddened to know the coyotes had been put down.

“I'm glad it was me and not another child and hopefully there's not another attack, adult or children, moving forward,” he said.

Foy said as of Monday morning the agency had stopped trapping coyotes. He said there is not an explanation as to why they’re seeing more attacks this year, but said people who encounter a coyote should shout aggressively, make noise, or blow a whistle to try and scare off the animal.