TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona Game and Fish Department confirm they captured and put down a coatimundi they say was aggressive.
“We captured and put down per policy a coati Friday that had been aggressive with at least three people, causing minor injuries to two. They are predators and can cause serious injury. The coati had no fear of people and clearly had been fed, illegally. The Coronado notified us Thursday of their concerns about its presence in Sabino,” says spokesman Mark Hart.
Hart warns it’s important to never feed wildlife.
The coatimundi was first spotted and reported by hikers Friday at the Sabino Creek Dam and Cactus Picnic area in Sabino Canyon.
According to KOLD News 13′s Dan Marries, the two people who were injured were scratched and the animal reportedly climbed up the leg of one of the hikers. Hart says coatimundi normally avoid people at all costs and don’t don’t casually walk up to people.
Some of KOLD News 13′s viewers are asking why the animal has to be put down and not rehabilitated. Hart says, “such behavior tends to escalate because the coati clearly was associating the presence of humans with food that to them tastes much better than what they can find in the wild. Once that pattern is established, it is almost impossible to break. We see this in other species, from bears to javelina. In addition, it learned that it can make physical contact with and injure a species it normally fears. (This is) not a good situation with a predator. Bottom line: There are unforeseen consequences when wildlife is fed, which is why it’s illegal.”