A "feisty" coyote (!) was on the run in Riverside Park last night until police officers and Animal Care & Control apprehended her. A cop explained, "It’s been running back and forth from 72nd and 79th streets and Riverside Drive. We’re just trying not to hurt the little guy."

The Post reports that a person noticed the coyote around 9:30 p.m. Thirty minutes later, the NYPD's 24th Precinct confirmed via Twitter, "Yes- There is a coyote in the UWS tonight (in Riverside Park). We are currently doing our best to humanely trap it. Will update shortly." Then, at 12:30 a.m., the 24th Precinct Tweeted a photo, "Coyote safely tranquilized and removed to Animal Care & Control," praising the 20th Precinct and NYPD Special Operations and adding, "Sorry for the delay-took a while. Had it corralled inside fenced-in BB court, but so cold out, the tranquilizer in the darts kept freezing!"

Apparently the coyote "she kept trying to jump the [court's] fence," and one cop cracked to the Post, "We knew it had to be a girl. Because she was so feisty."

Coyotes have been spotted in NYC in 2010 and 2011 but they have been in suburban New York and NJ recently. The NY State DEC says:

Coyotes provide many benefits to New Yorkers through observation, photography, hunting, and trapping; however, not all interactions are positive. While most coyotes avoid interacting with people, some coyotes in suburbia become emboldened and appear to have lost their fear of people. This can result in a dangerous situation. A coyote that does not flee from people should be considered dangerous. Coyotes in residential areas can be attracted to garbage, pet food, and other human-created sources of food. Coyotes can associate people with these food attractants. In addition, in some cases human behavior has changed to be non-threatening to coyotes (running into your home after seeing a coyote is behaving like prey). In short, people may unintentionally attract coyotes with food and people may behave like prey. Add to the mix people intentionally feeding coyotes and the potential for a coyote attack becomes very real.

The coyote is supposed to be released into the wild but the 24th Precinct seems attached: