A live coyote was spotted wandering the woods of Aquinnah this week, caught on a trail camera off Attaquin Way. Despite the species’ non-native status, reports of individuals have periodically surfaced in recent years.

“It appears to be true; we do have a coyote in Aquinnah,” said Aquinnah town administrator Jeffrey Madison, who sent the photo to Island naturalist Gus Ben David for identification.

Mr. Ben David was immediately able to identify the species, even though the photo is blurry.

“It definitely is a coyote, there’s no doubt about that,” Mr. Ben David said by phone.

Mr. Ben David, who has long kept track of the movements of Island fauna, said he believes there are five other adult coyotes currently living on the Island, although there is no indication yet that they have begun breeding.

“They get a lot more vocal when they breed,” he said, adding that he has yet to hear reports of any breeding vocalization.

“This is a whole new phenomenon,” Mr. Ben David said of the coyote presence on the Island, explaining that the species began to edge eastward roughly 20 years ago. Large adults occasionally swim ashore from the nearest breeding population, Naushon Island, and find plentiful food on the Vineyard in the form of berries and rabbits.

“They are incredible predators...once they get real established and dig in here, they could be all over the Island,” Mr. Ben David continued, expressing particular concern for the many free-ranging livestock on Island. “Basically, they would be a negative once established.”

Mr. Madison said that Aquinnah townsfolk are staying calm in the face of their new canine neighbor.

“People don’t seem to be concerned,” he said. “We’ve never had one up here before, but people aren’t panicked about it.”