If you'll be outdoors in the parks this summer, keep an especially careful eye out!

Due to recently reported sightings and coyote encounters around populated areas in Essex and Union counties, local officials have temporarily closed two New Jersey parks, according to NJ.com.

Eastern Coyote
Getty Images
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First, officials had to close a section of South Mountain Reservation last week in Essex County after a coyote bit a 13 year old girl! She was treated for puncture wounds to the leg in the hospital.

A second New Jersey park, Brightwood Park in Westfield, was forced to temporarily close shortly afterward after reports of aggressive coyote behavior, although thankfully no injuries were reported.

In case you didn't know, coyotes are a part of New Jersey's wildlife landscape. Sightings have been reported in every New Jersey county. So it's important we do our part to avoid encounters.

How can I avoid a coyote encounter?

Coyote, Richmond, Britisah Columbia, Canada
Getty Images

According to Urban Coyote Research, here are steps you can take to avoid coyote encounters:

  1. Do not feed coyotes
  2. Do not let your pets run loose
  3. Do not run from a coyote
  4. Consider repellents or fencing
  5. Report bold, aggressive coyotes immediately

What do I do if a coyote is approaching my dog and I on a walk?

Man walking a dog on a park trail in Duluth, MN
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

Here's what TheWildest.com suggests you do:

  1. Stop and stand still
  2. Make Yourself big
  3. Be loud and assertive
  4. Slowly back away
  5. Never turn your back and run. (You may trigger a predatory response)

If you happen to see a coyote wandering around populated areas and/or showing aggression, be sure to alert your local authories!

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