WASHINGTON -- The National Park Service is setting the record straight about coyote-wolf hybrids after an outdoors publication said the breed is "invading" D.C.'s Rock Creek Park.
Acting Deputy Superintendent at Rock Creek Park Jeremy Sweat says there are no wolves in Rock Creek Park and there haven't been for a long time. That means no coyote-wolf hybrids either.
"There haven't been any wolves in this part of the country for a very long time, so there are definitely no wolves in Rock Creek Park," Sweat says.
In addition to other wildlife, there are coyotes in Rock Creek Park and people should be aware of them, Sweat says.
While coyotes are generally timid around humans, people should not approach the animals or try to feed them.
"Remember that we do have wild animals in the park and people should use common sense and good judgment. Don't try to approach or feed the animals and always keep your dogs on a leash," Sweat says.
Coyotes were first spotted in Rock Creek Park in 2004, and they have been seen frequently since then.
While the National Park Service doesn't have a population estimate, Sweat says a majority of them have been observed in the upper section of the park between Military and Wise roads.
The National Park Service offers the following tips to prevent coming in contact with coyotes:
- Don't leave pet food outdoors.
- Keep trash well contained.
- Don't let pets run loose.
The National Park Service doesn't have any plans to control the coyote population.
"Coyotes have entered the park on their own and are subject to the same protection as other park wildlife under park regulations," the park service website says.
"Coyotes do not present a problem or a threat to public safety."
View a map with the area where coyotes are most frequently observed in Rock Creek Park:
Efforts to reach out to the author of the hybrid animal article were unsuccessful by the time of publication.
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