UNLV students and professors have spotted coyotes on campus several times during the past week. The presence of coyotes initially started as rumors in early February through alleged sightings from the Vegas Issues Instagram account.
These rumors soon became viral facts once members of the UNLV community began posting videos of their encounters.
The new pack of visitors has made local headlines and is now frequently being reported by students and professors. The post that started the initial community stir was from Michael Kagan, a UNLV law professor. Kagan snapped a picture of the coyote across from the Richard Tam Alumni Center. The post garnered roughly 31,000 views on Twitter with the humorous caption, “There is a wild coyote on the @unlv campus. Not clear what its major is or if it’s paying in-state tuition,” tweeted Kagan.
A colleague of Kagan, Daniel Bubb, also had a similar encounter with a coyote a few days later and had a sit down with News 3 LV to relive his experience.
According to News 3, Bubb says that he was working on his computer in his honors college office when the wild animal stood just inches away from him on the other side of his glass window.
“It had no idea that I was sitting here,” Bubb said. “It was literally running this direction and so naturally created quite a stir because I’ve been here for 11 years. I’ve never seen a coyote on campus.”
With the recent drought in the valley, Bubb believes that the coyotes have ventured into the heart of campus in search of other food sources like cats or jackrabbits.
According to the Nevada Department of Wildlife, coyotes are frequently spotted in urban areas because the washes have more water, which means more animals as a food source for coyotes.
Jared Nixon, a third-year mechanical engineering student, told the Free Press that he was walking with his friends to the Cottage Grove Parking Garage on the evening of Feb. 16 when he spotted a coyote.
“I was intrigued to see the coyote on campus,” said Nixon. “It was something you don’t usually see. I also think it was an opportunity for me to realize how close nature and wildlife is to the city of Las Vegas. That we really are closer to the natural world than we think.”
Another instance of coyotes being reported was during the hours of 9 to 11 a.m. on the morning of Feb. 27. According to University Police Services Assistant Director Arnold Vasquez, three calls were made reporting the animal near the William S. Boyd School of Law. Vasquez believes the calls were all about the same animal given that the callers’ descriptions were similar. He advised that coyotes are not a danger to the public but also warned they shouldn’t be approached.
In response to the recurring sightings of coyotes on campus, the UNLV News Center published an article on tips for staying coyote safe.
“Ensuring that coyotes on campus do not become habituated to humans protects our community as well as the coyotes themselves,” said the news center. “Habituated coyotes cannot be rehomed and must be euthanized under Nevada State Law.”
The article continues in detail by advising that if one comes in contact with a coyote that they be large and loud, and never attempt to feed coyotes.