Coyote that attacked girl at San Francisco's Botanical Garden is killed

A female coyote that has been tagged and collared sits in a vehicle pullout where wildlife biologists have been conducting a study of coyotes that populate the area of the Marin Headlands in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area near Sausalito, Calif., on Tuesday, November 24, 2020. Seven local coyotes have been captured, tagged and collared so biologists can learn from their activity in the open space of the headlands.
A female coyote near Sausalito in 2020. A 5-year-old girl was bitten Friday by a coyote in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. (Carlos Avila Gonzalez/Getty Images)

The hunt for an adult coyote that attacked a 5-year-old girl in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is over after DNA tests confirmed it was among three killed by state wildlife trappers over the weekend, officials said.

The girl was attending a day camp Friday at the Botanical Garden when she was bitten and suffered a "substantive but not serious" injury, according to California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Patrick Foy.

She was treated by paramedics at the scene, according to Gardens of Golden Gate officials. The Botanical Garden is part of the Golden Gate Park and has a known coyote population that has coexisted with park visitors for years, Foy said.

A person walks through the entrance to a botanical garden
A person enters the Botanical Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park in April 2023. Wildlife officers say a coyote that attacked a 5-year-old girl while she was playing during a supervised summer camp visit at the garden on Friday was among three shot and killed over the weekend. (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

"We are happy to report that everyone is alright," Gardens of Golden Gate Park spokesperson Brendan Lange said in an email Tuesday. The Botanical Garden was closed Friday after the incident out of an abundance of caution and reopened Monday morning.

It's not unusual to spot a coyote at Golden Gate Park even though the area is considered an urban environment, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department spokesperson Tamara Aparton said. Almost all instances where a coyote interacted with a human involved an unleashed dog, Aparton said.

"For a coyote to bite a person is exceedingly rare," Aparton added.

In a bid to find the animal responsible for Friday's attack on the girl, trappers killed two coyotes on on Saturday and another on Sunday. Forensic scientists with the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife confirmed that one of them matched the DNA taken from the girl's bite wounds, Foy said. The results of a rabies test will take several days and were not available on Tuesday, according to Foy. It's unclear what led up to the attack or if any dogs were involved in the situation.

San Francisco's situation is not unique, particularly for this time of year.

Coyotes become especially active during mating and pupping season, and in Southern California, have claimed the backyards and surrounding hills around the residential neighborhood of Mar Vista as a part of their territory.

Mother coyotes tend to become territorial after giving birth to their pups, and their behavior can come across as aggressive or abnormal, according to wildlife officials. During this time of year, some hiking trails in San Francisco are closed for public safety concerns as coyote sightings increase.

In 2021, federal trappers killed a male coyote named Carl after the animal charged at picnickers in Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Wildlife experts say coyotes and other animals can become accustomed to humans if they find a beneficial relationship, such as food, which is why they discourage people from feeding their local wildlife.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.