Residents of concrete and steel jungles often seem to long for a taste of nature. In New York, a city where environmentalists and animal lovers hold some sway, this is certainly the case. But 'a taste' may be as far as it goes. Sure, the city has parks covering almost one-fifth of its area - above average for an American city. And the 341 hectares of Central Park, which dominates Manhattan, is an oasis envied by the whole world. Increasingly, too, the roofs of buildings are being covered in plants: about 100 building projects include such green 'lungs'. The city's love for four-legged creatures is amply illustrated in the cover story of this week's Time Out New York. Under the headline 'Pet Mania', it describes a society where 'animal birthday parties, designer doggy fashion, neuticles [pretend testicles for the neutered] - make no bones about it, New Yorkers' pet obsession is off the chain'. But it is a different story when nature comes in the raw, rather than the controlled version. Last week, a coyote found his way into Central Park, but got a cool welcome. He may have trudged through a tunnel or across a bridge in the early hours of the morning to get to Manhattan. But that resourcefulness was hardly rewarded: instead, his name and picture popped up in local newspapers for several days, as if he were a wanted fugitive. Experts say coyotes, whose main diet is rabbits and mice, rarely attack humans or their pets. Even so, people held their babies or dogs tightly when walking in the park, and some even stopped jogging. Helicopters, radio cars and police snipers joined in the coyote hunt. The coyote was eventually shot with a tranquilliser gun and sent to a wildlife centre. 'This is New York, and I would suggest that the coyote may have more problems [here] than the rest of us,' said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who showed that his love of tropical fish (his workplaces always have large aquariums) doesn't extend to wild dogs. This is not the first time in recent years that the city has encountered wildness in the raw - and blinked. Twice in the past five years, alligators have been found in city parks, one in Central Park and one in Queens. They were probably abandoned pets and relatively harmless, but a certain panic set in each time. But occasionally, the wild things win out. Last year, the management of a co-op building 'evicted' a pair of mating hawks from an outside ledge partly because they didn't like the dead mice that sometimes dropped onto the pavement below. But, under pressure from bird lovers, not only was their nest put back, but a window-cleaning planned for last week was postponed - lest the now-expecting pair was disturbed.