for National Geographic News
Wile E. Coyote's got nothing on Hal.
After leading dozens of police officers on a two-day chase through New York's Central Park, the year-old coyote was captured yesterday.
The first sightings of the animalnicknamed Hal by park workerscame early Sunday, and the hunt began on Tuesday. News helicopters filmed police and park rangers in pursuit.
Before his capture, Hal proved a cunning escape artist, leaping over an 8-foot (2.4-meter) fence, ducking under a bridge, and even scrambling across a skating rink.
Officials chased the coyote on foot and in a helicopter before finally slowing him down with a tranquilizer gun near the Belvedere Castle lookout, close to 79th Street and Central Park West. (See photos of Central Park landmarks.)
Piles of feathers left in his wake suggested the hungry critter had been dining on the park's ducks and other birds.
"He's a very adventurous coyote to travel to midtown Manhattan," New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe told reporters.
The tawny-colored, 35-pound (16-kilogram) male will be taken to a wildlife center outside the city, officials said.
Hal is the second coyote to be captured in Central Park. Another coyote was caught there in 1999.
Wildlife experts say, however, that they were not surprised to find a coyote in the heart of the largest city in the United States. They say coyotes have in some places become habituated to humans and human environments.
"There are coyotes in more places than people know," said Wendy Arjo, a wildlife biologist and coyote expert with the National Wildlife Research Center in Olympia, Washington.
SOURCES AND RELATED WEB SITES