The coyote responsible for an attack on a Moraga toddler held in her mother’s arms Tuesday is the same animal responsible for three other high-profile biting incidents in Lamorinda in recent weeks, sources confirmed to News24/680 Wednesday.
DNA testing of the 3-year-old victim’s clothing matched samples taken from other, previous victims, sources said. State wildlife officials are making extraordinary efforts to confirm the identity of the responsible animal, up to and including swabbing local coyotes killed by cars in order to weed out or identify the culprit animal.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Capt. Patrick Foy confirmed that forensic analysis of samples delivered to CDFW’s Wildlife Forensic Laboratory in Sacramento “produced a complete profile from the attacking animal.”
“The coyote’s DNA profile is a match to the coyote responsible for the three other attacks that occurred all in the same vicinity between July and December 2020,” Foy wrote.
Aside from Tuesday’s attack on the toddler, a local man working out at Campolindo High School – not far from the scene of yesterday’s incident – was also bitten on the leg by the animal as he exercised. Another toddler was attacked at Moraga Commons Park and a worker was bitten at a Lafayette grocery store before he and colleagues could shoo the offending animal away.
All of the local incidents appear to be unprovoked attacks – highly unusual for a species known for its cautious scavenging and general aversion to humans. Some officials now believe the animal may have grown used to people and food it was able to scavenge from local businesses.
In one case, police in Moraga actually witnessed a local person hand-feeding an animal before the officers intervened, the animal’s benefactor apparently unaware of the implications of her actions.
With the need to track and capture or kill the offending animal apparent, wildlife officials will resume trapping operations in the general area of the attacks in coming days.
Both local police and wildlife officials expressed disbelief that a geographic area as small and confined as Lamorinda could now hold the dubious distinction of being home to half of the recorded coyote attacks on humans reported statewide in recent months.