The urban jungle of Los Angeles has a king. It is undoubtedly the mountain lion known as P22.
"He's been here for a couple of years now," said Gregory Randall, LA's wildlife specialist.
But ever since the tar pits first bubbled, LA has had one constant carnivore: coyotes.
Now meet the jungle’s lawman, assigned to put some distance between us.
For almost a quarter of a century, Randall has served as the city of LA's wildlife specialist.
For the first time, only NBC4 is allowed on assignment with the entire LA Animal Services wildlife department, Randall and Zoologist Hoang Dinh.
From the hills of Porter Ranch to the shores of San Pedro, we have 465 square miles to cover.
And everywhere seems to be coyote country. Coyotes are no longer just making their homes just in the hillsides. They roam the streets, a menacing neighbor.
Coyotes. Or as some call them: killers.
"They are so brazen," said Molly Hale.
Hale was walking her small dog, Sid, in Beachwood Canyon when a coyotoe attacked the dog in the middle of the day.
"They are not afraid of humans at all," she said.
It became clear who is to blame on NBC4's first night shadowing the officers.
"Some people already put up warnings," Randall said.
Despite the signs, people are feeding coyotes.
"The coyotes don’t need our help," Randall said.
It’s illegal, punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
"Coyotes are willing to approach, even sometimes beg for food because people have thrown food to them," Randall said, as he shared video sent to him by concerned Hollywood residents.
In it, people toss food off a balcony to coyotes who wait in anticpation. And then run up the hill – toward the home – to retreive their treat.
Feeding coyotes can put a whole neighborhood at risk, a wild animal that no longer sees a human as a threat.
"It will take years to undo the damage that we've done," Randall said.
Coyotes are not pets. Nor are they villians.
Skip Haynes is the founder of Claw -- Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife.
"If you cull a population of coyotes from your neighborhood: rats. It's goodbye Mr. Coyote. Hello Mr. Rat.
"You absolutely want coyotes in your neighborhood."
Randall said the idea is to keep the fear of humans in coyotes so they stay away from people.
"You want to raise your arms, wave your hands, stomp your feet and yell 'get out here,'" he said.
Encounters are inevitable. Some 4 million people, as many 7,000 coyotes.
I live in New City, NY a northern suburb of New York City. My three+ acres adjoins a state park, so that there is no one in back of me for quite some distance. My property is fenced. I currently own two CAO dogs, one intact UKC champion and one intact female puppy/subadult. The female came into her first heat and I had 3 coyotes surrounding my fence and howling at her for two weeks. They would leave dead animals outside my 8' fence near her kennel (raccoon, opossum) every night as an offering. i suspect that they were vying for her attention and were hoping to mate with her. I do believe my male would have had something to say on that matter had one managed to get inside the fence enclosure. The female was very aggressive in chasing off the coyotes, and knowing her disposition and temperament, I do believe that the coyotes would not survive unscathed an interaction with my girl. They could not possible hope to survive any contact with my male. By the way, coyotes in NY are roughly 25%-50% larger than western coyotes, with genetic studies confirming that they are hybrid with Canadian timber wolves. They have subsequently worked their way down into NY, Vermont, New Hampshire, etc. They also tend to hunt more in packs compared to the more solitary western coyote. They are rather attractive with plush tan to reddish-tan coats.
Coyotes are increasing everywhere. Even in city's. Coyotes are getting braver and have no fear of humans. This means small pets are in danger. Be careful if you have a small pet. I am sure though some LGD dog's might have some fun with the increasing coyote numbers though. People need to learn not to feed wild animals. Again Education.