NEHALEM, Ore. -- Federal wildlife agents have tracked down and killed the coyote they believe attacked a 5-year-old girl who was camping with her family at Nehalem Bay State Park last Thursday.
The girl, from Ocean City, is doing fine but will get a series of rabies shots as a precaution. She was treated at Providence Seaside Hospital in Seaside just after the attack.
The girl's mother said that the family was returning to its campsite after watching the sunset on the beach just after 5 p.m. She said her daughter was dragging a stick in the sand when the coyote approached from behind and first grabbed at the stick. The animal then nipped the girl's back, breaking the skin.
The coyote fled when the family started screaming.
Park workers posted warning signs around the campground and alerted federal authorities.
Chris Havel with Oregon State Parks said after the girl was attacked, three other people reported separate incidents involving an aggressive coyote in the park area. Havel said no one else was injured but the others said the coyote was acting odd and getting uncomfortably close to them. One of the victims also snapped a photo of the animal. (Actual photo shown above)
Federal wildlife agents arrived at the park to investigate. They conducted coyote calls, Havel said, to lure animals to them and noted that one coyote in particular matched the one in the photo. They killed that animal and sent her body to the Oregon State University lab for a necropsy.
Havel added that while the coyote did not show any obvious signs of rabies, it will be tested for it, along with other diseases.
This was the first documented coyote attack in Oregon State Park history.
The coyote that was killed by the federal agents was a female, approximately 20 pounds, Havel said.
He added that while the wildlife officials felt confident they destroyed the correct animal, they will continue to monitor animal behavior in the park in case any more situations involving aggressive coyotes occur.