It’s a battle of man versus animal at LaGuardia Airport where authorities are trying to capture an elusive coyote over the objections of some animal rights advocates. As NY1’s Natalie Duddridge reports — some airport workers not only are rooting for the coyote — they are trying to help the animal continue to roam free.
At the edge of LaGuardia Airport a Coyote nicknamed Dumbo rests after another day staying one step ahead of Port Authority police.
“I was screaming and screaming begging them not to kill him,” said one.
A group of airport workers is fighting for Dumbo’s safety.
Over the last year Port Authority cops and state environmental conservation officers captured and killed about a half dozen coyotes roaming the area calling them a danger.
Dumbo is believed to be the last surviving member of the pack.
Officials say they simply want Dumbo captured so he can be brought to an animal sanctuary.
The workers and animal rights advocates don’t believe them.
“They claimed they were going to do that last time,” said airport employee Vashisht Maharaj. “And they come and try to kill him and be sneaky about it.
The workers shot this video Wednesday when Port Authority police suddenly shut down a parking lot to search for the animal.
The workers shouted and threw rocks at Dumbo to make him run away.
“They said they were going to trap him and they were going to kill him and that wasn’t the agreement!” said airport employee Rob Cadiz.
Officials insist that’s not the case. The Port Authority and the DEC tell NY1 a wildlife team is working to capture the coyote and safely relocate him to a yet-to-be-determined location.
“He’s a beautiful animal and it’s a shame that there were others just like him they killed pointlessly because people’s fears about him,” Cadiz said.
Coyotes in the big city are unusual, but not unheard of. Two-and-a-half years ago one roamed the West Side of Manhattan, another made it to a Long Island City rooftop.
Frank Vincenti heads the Wild Dog Foundation.
He says the coyotes are looking for land and food, and that police should just leave them alone.
“I never once felt threatened, they always ran from me,” Vincenti said. “It’s a tragedy ’cause it shows people are still not ready to co-exist with wildlife.”
These Airport employees say they’ve become so attached to the coyote, they’ll even visit him if he’s relocated
But first, he’ll have to be captured and so far, Dumbo is anything but Dumb.