NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — The city of Newport is encouraging residents to be “coyote smart” over the next several weeks as their mating season gets underway.

The local coyote population has grown considerably over the past 30 years, according to the city, and that will likely continue if they’re well-fed.

That’s why the city is asking people to eliminate all potential food sources by securing trash cans and dumpsters and feeding pets indoors.

Pet owners are also encouraged to carry a flashlight and whistle or other noise-making device while out walking where coyotes may be active.

New England’s coyote mating season typically begins in the final weeks of January and peaks from late February to early March.

If you see a coyote and believe it could be a threat to you or your pets, the city said to call Newport police at (401) 847-1306.