Coyote captured outside lower Manhattan cafe

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Police captured a young, female coyote outside a cafe in a residential area of lower Manhattan on Saturday, the latest in a series of coyote sightings in New York City, where an increasing number of the predators are making their home.

An emergency operator fielded a 911 call early Saturday morning reporting a coyote sighting at North Cove Marina near Battery Park City, said Detective Annette Markowski, spokeswoman for the New York Police Department.

Armed with a tranquiliser gun, officers spent an hour trying to corner the animal near a cafe with an outdoor seating area.

Eventually they "contained, darted and secured" the animal, police said. It was placed in a cage and transported in a police cruiser to Manhattan Animal Care and Control for examination.

"It is healthy and will be released into an appropriate wilderness area somewhere in New York City, probably today,"said a spokesman for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

The animal is a little over a year old, said the parks spokesman, who said he did not know how much the animal weighed.

Coyotes, which in their first year can grow to adult size of up to 18kg, can live more than a dozen years in the wild, according to wildlife experts.

The predators are becoming increasingly comfortable in cities, which offer more opportunities for easy prey, including an abundance of mice, squirrels, rabbits and cats, experts said.

Earlier this month, a coyote was captured in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, and there were two coyote attacks reported in suburban Bergen County, New Jersey.

This week, a police hunt for a coyote spotted on Manhattan's Upper West Side shut down parts of Riverside Park and led to Columbia University and Grant's Tomb. It was unclear whether it was the same animal that was caught on Saturday, police said.