‘Coyote Lady’ Lila Brooks turns 103, desires to remain ‘active’


Lila Brooks turned 103 years old on Thursday, but she does not consider herself old.

“I want to be active. I want to still accomplish things. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I have a terrific memory. I am articulate. I am not feeling old at all,” she said. “I still want to feel like I am a useful member of society.”

About four decades ago, Brooks advocated for water pools to be installed for coyotes in Los Angeles area mountains and canyons. She also called for banning the use of steel-jawed leg traps for coyotes and has participated in anti-fur marches.

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In 1976, her advocacy for the humane treatment of animals won her the St. Francis of Assisi Award from the city of Los Angeles, and it was presented to her by then Mayor Tom Bradley.

At her retirement home in Glendale on Thursday, Brooks was surrounded by photographs of her with wild raccoons and old newspaper clippings about her efforts as founder and director of California Wildlife Defenders.

I want to stay active. I don’t feel 103 at all.

— “Coyote Lady” Lila Brooks, animal activist

Among the photographs was one of her sitting outside the Glendale Galleria with a stuffed coyote with a steel-jawed leg trap clamped on its feet.

“I went with that coyote everywhere to demonstrate how cruel that trap was,” she said.

There was also a framed note dated April 13, 1981, from former News-Press editor, publisher and four-time Glendale Mayor, Carroll Parcher, who wrote about city officials following Brooks’ suggestion to enact a city ordinance prohibiting residents from feeding coyotes, which some Glendale residents often did then.

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City officials also installed water pools in hills near Glendale at Brooks’ suggestion to help detract coyotes away from residential areas, Parcher wrote.

“I want you to know how much the City Council and the city of Glendale appreciate the help and advice you gave us regarding the coyote problem,” he wrote.

Back then, Brooks went by “The Coyote Lady” and on Thursday, she told a television news reporter he should call her by that name.

Last year, at age 102, Brooks retrieved old film footage she took in the 1970s of coyotes and wildlife in the hills of Los Angeles and narrated the footage for the first time.

She transferred the footage onto DVDs and is selling them, and she hopes a television network might pick it up to broadcast.

“I want to stay active. I don’t feel 103 at all,” she said.


Kelly Corrigan,

Twitter: @kellymcorrigan