UPDATE: Weston nature preserves remain closed

Coyote danger sign

Weston’s Animal Control Officer, Mark Harper, stands behind a sign posted at the Tall Pines Nature Preserve. —Patricia Gay photo

UPDATE: A pair of Aspetuck Land Trust nature preserves in Weston are still closed following reports on Friday of aggressive behavior by coyotes.

Visitors to The Taylor Woods/Thorp Preserve on Hunt Lane and Thorp Drive, and the Tall Pines Preserve located at Fanton Hill Road and Twin Walls Lane reported last week that coyotes had followed them and their dogs. No one was attacked or injured.

Weston Animal Control Officer Mark Harper asked the Aspetuck Land Trust to close the preserves until the coyote situation was resolved. The town of Weston sent out a Code Red Alert on Friday to notify neighbors the preserves were closed until further notice.

Mr. Harper said he came across a pack of coyotes last Saturday in the Tall Pines Preserve. “I know where their den is,” he said.

According to David Brant, executive director of the Aspetuck Land Trust, there may be a reasonable explanation for the public presence of the coyotes. “They may be trying to protect their young and their behavior may have been mischaracterized,” he said.

He said he has spoken with the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and was told it is not uncommon for coyotes to follow people in order to protect their pups.

As a public safety precaution, the preserves will remain closed for now, Mr. Brant said.

Mr. Harper said the coyotes appear to be in good health, do not have mange, and are not suspected to have rabies.

Signs saying the preserves are closed have been posted at their entrances.

Residents with any questions about the coyotes may contact Mr. Harper at 203-222-2642. Emergency calls should be made to 911.

The Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection, DEEP, maintains a web page providing further advice on coyotes.

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