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Health Alert: Monkey Run Natural Area Re-Opened, Caution Still Advised

(Ithaca, N.Y., June 14, 2024) – Tompkins County Whole Health’s Environmental Health Division (TCWH EH) is sharing with the community an update regarding the potentially rabid coyote in the Monkey Run Natural Area. Our press release dated June 4, 2024, shared that the trails were closed due to reports of multiple attacks to people and dogs by a coyote in this area.

While there is no confirmation that the coyote was rabid, rabies is suspected due to the animal exhibiting unusually aggressive behavior that is characteristic of rabies. Since June 5, continuous efforts have been made to locate the animal, including surveying the area and using game cameras. Despite these efforts, at this time the coyote has not been found.

Cornell Botanical Gardens has re-opened their trails for public access as of June 12th, but we encourage everyone to remain vigilant while using the trails. Staying on the trail and keeping dogs on leashes is required. Report any unusual wildlife behavior in this area to Cornell Police at: 607-255-1111. In case of an emergency while on the trails, please call 911.

If you or your pets may have had contact with or have been bitten by this coyote or any other wild animal, please contact the Tompkins County Environmental Health Division at (607) 274-6688. This phone line is monitored 24/7.

TCWH would like to thank the community for their cooperation in avoiding this area for the past week. Thanks are extended as well to Cornell Botanical Gardens for their swift response to the concerns, as well as to Cornell University Police, Cornell Media Relations, Wildlife Resolutions, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Tompkins County SPCA Animal Control for their support in responding to this situation.

Tompkins County Whole Health reminds everyone to:

  1. Avoid contact with any unfamiliar cats or dogs and any wild animals.
  2. NYS law requires all cats, dogs and ferrets to have initial rabies vaccinations administered no later than four months of age.  Keep vaccinations current! NYS law also requires that dogs be licensed in the municipalities in which they reside.
  3. Report the following incidents to the Tompkins County Health Department at 607-274-6688:
    • All animal bites or scratches. If you are bitten by cat or dog, be sure to obtain owner’s contact information.
    • Any human or pet contact with saliva or other potentially infectious material (brain tissue, spinal tissue, or cerebro-spinal fluid) of wild animals or any animal suspected of having rabies.
    • All bat bites, scratches, or any mere skin contact with a bat, or a bat in a room with a child, or sleeping or impaired person.

Further information can be found at:

Tompkins County Whole Health envisions a future where every person in Tompkins County can achieve wellness. Find us online at, and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TCWholeHealth. Get Whole Health updates or other county announcements via email or text, sign up here.

Media contact: Shannon Alvord,