Hal, the coyote who paid a visit to New York City and was captured as he loped around Central Park, died as he was being tagged for release in the wild, a state official said Friday.
The coyote stopped breathing Thursday night during the routine tagging procedure and biologists could not revive him, said Gabrielle DeMarco, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Pathologists were trying to determine whether the stress of his capture or captivity or something else contributed to the death of the year-old, 35-pound coyote.
The coyote, nicknamed Hal by park workers, led dozens of police officers on foot and in a helicopter on a wild chase through the urban greenery March 21 and 22. He jumped into the water, ducked under a bridge and leaped over an 8-foot fence.
Hal was finally caught when a police officer shot the animal with a tranquilizer dart.
Officials had taken Hal from a wildlife rehabilitation expert in Long Island on Thursday and had planned to release him in a state forest in upstate New York.
How Hal reached Central Park is a mystery. He may have wandered into the city from the suburbs, or perhaps crossed the Hudson River from New Jersey by way of a bridge or a passing truck.