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River Trail Nature Center refuses to consider larger cage for coyote

A petition seeks to move this coyote to a sanctuary. Photo shared from Instagram/rocky_the_coyote.

River Trail Nature Center staff said they have no plans to build a larger enclosure for a coyote that is the center of a petition to have the animal moved to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.

River Trail Nature Center is located in Northbrook, IL, and is run by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. The center keeps a 3-year-old coyote in a “tiny, unnatural, inhumane cage,” according to a petition started by Northbrook resident Nicole Milan.

Milan said the coyote is often seen pacing which is a stress behavior from confinement.

“He is not being rehabilitated and lives in inhumane conditions, constantly pacing his cage in boredom,” Milan said in the petition.

The center said the coyote was considered non-releasable after he was mistakenly raised as a puppy at an animal shelter in Tennessee.

On January 11, the Forest Preserve board of commissioners heard testimony from several veterinarians and experts urging the facility to transfer the coyote to a sanctuary.

Today the Forest Preserve District and River Trail Nature Center defended their care of the coyote in a social media post.

Officials called the coyote an ambassador animal that is “well-cared for, well-housed and in good condition.”

Officials said their enclosure meets USDA requirements and standards.

“We are not considering a major renovation or expansion of the habitat at this time,” the Forest Preserve District said in a social media post.

The coyote’s enclosure at River Trail Nature Center is 266 square feet. The smallest enclosure at The Wild Animal Sanctuary is about 800 times larger than the coyote's enclosure.

About 3,500 people have signed an online petition urging River Trail Nature Center to allow the coyote to be placed at The Wild Animal Sanctuary.


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