Coyotes spotted outside Kent County school


CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD)- Coyote sightings raised concerns among administrators for Forest Hills Public Schools.

A pair of coyotes circled Ada Elementary School in the middle of the school day Monday.

“The biggest concern that we would have is to make sure kids are aware it is a wild animal, and they shouldn’t approach it,” said Ron Boezwinkle, operations director for Forest Hills Public Schools.

A custodian and teacher shooed away the trespassers and administrators warned nearby elementary schools to keep their children inside for recess if they were worried.

“My kids came home and just let us know that the principal had made an announcement that there was a coyote on the playground and that they just needed to be careful,” said Mandy Rozema.

The next day, a coyote sauntered down Rozema’s suburban Ada Township street, about a half mile from the school.

“It is kind of cool, but at the same time, it’s something you want to educate your children about- let them know that that wildlife is not approachable,” added Rozema.

Then Wednesday, a viewer recorded video of a coyote strolling down a busy Cascade Road near 36th Street in the middle of the day.

“That’s a little bit abnormal for coyotes. The potential for them having a disease is out there. Animals get diseases and it causes them to lose their judgement,” said state wildlife biologist John Niewoonder.

In recent years, coyote sightings in West Michigan have become almost commonplace. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, coyotes came to Michigan from the south and west and have spread across the state, especially in the last decade.

They eat mostly rodents, rabbits and squirrels and usually shy away from humans.

“It’s just not that big of a threat to human safety. We’re just going to have to live with it. They’re here, they’ve adapted to the habitat we created and our presence and they seem to thrive under those conditions,” said Niewoonder.

However, Niewoonder said pet owners who allow their cats or dogs outside should supervise them or keep them inside.

Online:Michigan Department of Natural Resources – Coyote information

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