A coyote that learned to beg for food along a road in Death Valley failed to learn a lesson the National Park Service was trying to teach it, which was to stay off Badwater Road near Golden Canyon.
Apparently, the coyote had learned that by crossing the road when it saw a car coming, the car would sometimes stop and feed it. It had been doing this for several months.
“We tried hazing it away from the road by shooting it with a paintball gun and pepper spray,” Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds stated in a Death Valley National Park press release. “The only thing the coyote learned was to stay away from park rangers.”
Alas, on Christmas Day, the coyote was struck and killed by a car on the road.
“It is illegal to feed wildlife within Death Valley National Park,” the park stated. “Feeding wildlife often later causes that animal’s death. Wildlife that have been fed by people learn to cross roads when they see a car coming. They learn that this behavior sometimes triggers the car to stop and feed them.”
Unfortunately, this coyote failed to learn its lesson.
Humans need to learn a lesson, too: don’t feed wildlife.
Photos courtesy of Bill Sloan/National Park Service.