The man who picked up a young coyote — which is now recovering at the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre — was “extremely surprised” when a co-worker pointed out that the driver had not hit a big dog like he originally thought.
“It is amazing how docile it was. I was petting it,” said Eli Boroditsky, who hit the coyote on his way to work the night shift at Bothwell Cheese in New Bothwell, Man., located about 38 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg.
“The only time she really acted up is when the wildlife officer put the loop around her to get her out of the car.”
Just after 9:30 p.m. last Wednesday, Boroditsky was driving 90 km/h on the highway when the coyote suddenly jumped out in front of the vehicle, he said.
“I thought it was a German shepherd or a husky,” he said. “I didn’t think it was a wild animal.”
He pulled over and walked back to where the coyote was lying stunned on the shoulder of the road.
“I was hesitant to leave it lying there because — thinking that it was a dog and there might be wild animals around — it might get hurt,” Boroditsky said, adding that he proceeded to pick up the 13-kilogram animal and place it in the back seat of his Hyundai.
When Boroditsky arrived at work, a man saw the animal in the back and noticed the animal was, in fact, a coyote, he said.
They tried calling conservation officers and rehab centres, but were told to call back in the morning. A conservation officer from Manitoba Wildlife came by after 9 a.m. and delivered the coyote to Wildlife Haven, located in Île-des-Chênes, Man., 15 kilometres from New Bothwell.
The animal didn’t have any broken bones, but it did have a few cuts — one on its face and another on one of its rear legs, likely from the impact of the collision, according to staff at the centre. Right now, the coyote is in good shape: clean teeth, a good coat and has a healthy appetite. It should be released back into the wild in a week or so.
Executive director Zoe Nakata says she’s happy everyone is safe, but doesn’t advise picking up a wild animal, no matter the circumstances.
“If an animal is large and is a predator — if their behaviour and natural behaviours are aggressive — then we always always ask people to be cautious and to call people to help,” she said.
“If you’re not sure, just give us a call and sometimes we do tell people just put a towel around it, put it in a box and drive it to the centre.”
Boroditsky said he knows now that it was a risky move, but he was just trying to protect a vulnerable animal.
“Working on the premise … that it was a dog, I was worried in that condition — because it was sort of out to lunch — that if a preying animal came by, it would kill it.”