Rocky the Coyote Paces in a Tiny Cage—Act Now!

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After humans mistook Rocky the baby coyote for an abandoned puppy, they captured him in nature and sent him to an animal shelter in Tennessee before he’d even opened his eyes. From there, he was sent to the Forest Preserves of Cook County and relegated—all alone—to a small, bleak corncrib cage at the River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook, Illinois. With a constant view of the forest around him, Rocky now presses his snout against the bars that imprison him.

Photograph of a small enclosure in the woods below a blue sky. Inside, a caged coyote looks out of the bars into the background.

Cook County reportedly has plans to increase the size of Rocky’s enclosure, but that’s not good enough—he should be transferred to an accredited sanctuary. In nature, coyotes live in packs. Studies done in Cook County show that coyote packs roam territories averaging more than 4 square miles. But at the River Trail Nature Center, Rocky languishes alone and has been observed pacing in apparent distress. This blatant disregard for his needs threatens his health, but sadly, it’s business as usual for the self-proclaimed “nature center.”

Photograph of an American kestrel in a small indoor cage lit with a fluorescent light.

Eagles, owls, and hawks are also confined to small, barren cages there, including a kestrel and a screech owl who are kept in 4-foot-by-4-foot boxes with no room to fly and no access to sunlight, fresh air, or foliage.

Close-up photograph of the American kestrel looking sideways into the camera, behind bars, under the fluorescent light.

But there’s hope for Rocky! The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado—which is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries—has offered to relocate him to an expansive naturalistic habitat where he could roam with other coyotes.

Keeping Rocky confined as an “educational” prop for human entertainment, when he could and should be roaming as a member of a pack, is an egregious form of speciesism—discrimination based solely on species.

Please urge Cook County officials and the River Trail Nature Center to give Rocky a chance to live at an accredited sanctuary!

Scott R.
Cook County
Cook County Commission

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