Plenty of surprising items are encountered in the East River — including stripped car parts and a full, upright dining table — but on Monday afternoon, witnesses stumbled upon a shocking sight: a coyote struggling to swim in its murky waters.
Onlookers initially assumed the animal was a “dog in distress,” and promptly informed the 19th Precinct. After further observation, it was confirmed the canine was, in fact, a coyote.
An NYPD spokesperson said the incident took place at about 2:12 p.m. in the vicinity of East 96th Street. “NYPD Harbor units were able to successfully remove the coyote out of the water and onto their vessel. The coyote was removed to an animal facility in order to receive the necessary veterinary care. It is not clear where the coyote entered the water from. Preliminarily, there does not appear to be any criminality.”
Though the presence of a coyote in an urban area may seem startling, they are actually known to reside in New York City — specifically in Queens, the Bronx and even Manhattan (experts estimate somewhere between 20 and 30 are currently roaming around).
While the species can technically swim, the East River’s robust currents should be avoided at all costs. For New York residents fearful of wild animals, don’t stress — coyotes are relatively harmless to humans, but WildlifeNYC warns it’s necessary to protect your pets should you encounter one while out on a stroll. Apparently, coyotes can traverse approximately 10 miles of open space per day, meaning there’s a slight chance of sharing a path with a four-legged friend who isn’t your poodle mix.
Coyotes are common in NYC, but one swimming in the East River is not!
Our officers responded to a call of a distressed “dog” battling river currents, but realized it was actually a coyote! Thanks to NYPD Harbor for coming to the rescue — he’s now in the care of veterinarians. pic.twitter.com/6t4TCUWlL7
— NYPD 19th Precinct (@NYPD19Pct) April 10, 2023
The female coyote was brought to Animal Care Centers and will be released back into the “wild.”