Wildlife is making a comeback in urban areas of metro Detroit; here's why

Posted at 8:40 AM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 08:40:01-04

(WXYZ) — Wildlife is making a comeback in metro Detroit, from river otters to foxes and coyotes. Last week, we caught coyotes along Detroit's riverfront, and the wild animals are becoming more brazen.

Terry McFadden has been with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for over 20 years. He said he isn't surprised coyotes are making a comeback in urban areas like Detroit.

"A lot of times in urban settings they learn to not be afraid of people because they're not being harassed or hazed," he said.

According to the DNR, they're in every county in Michigan, and as scavengers, they'll pretty much eat anything. That includes insects and rodents, to house pets like cats and small dogs. McFadden said they're becoming more visible in urban settings.

"They can be more visible right now. But years ago we didn't have very many, but they're very adaptable and the more green space we have and corridors," he said.

Detroit does have a lot of urban green space and tall grass that serves as a shelter for pheasants and other wildlife including the coyote, but sometimes, those abandoned buildings do serve as a shelter.

"We have a lot of restored habitat along the riverfront and Detroit is doing a really good job in recapturing some of the urban blight," he said.

If you see a coyote, do not approach it. If you need to defend yourself, become large by raising your hands over your head, yelling and screaming, and don't turn your back.

The DNR also said to avoid leaving food outside, and prepare for encounters if you're in their natural habitat.

Lastly, throw an object such as a rock or stick near it to scare it.