No coyote attacks reported in Stanley Park since September slaughter, ministry says
In the three months since the BC Ministry of Forests trapped and killed the last of 11 aggressive coyotes in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, there have been no reports of people being bitten by the remaining animals.
According to the BC Conservation Officer Service, two people on bicycles were chased by a coyote in early October, but no one was injured.
Forty-five people, including children, said they were bitten or bitten in the park by a coyote between December 2020 and the end of August this year.
After repeated warnings to the public not to feed wildlife in the park, to leave garbage and not to visit the park at night, the province intervened with culling as a last resort.
The park was closed overnight for two weeks in early September so coyotes could be trapped and killed to curb the growing number of attacks on humans.
During the slaughter carried out by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development, four animals were destroyed while seven were killed by conservation officers before the park was closed.
The BC Conservation Officer Service said in a statement that on October 1 at around 12:30 p.m. – 10 days after the slaughter – there had been reports of a coyote chasing a cyclist. At 2 p.m. the same day, another report was made to the Provincial Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line of a coyote chasing a cyclist near the Bridle Trail.
“It is not normal behavior for coyotes to chase people,” the statement said.
Since then, there have been no other reported incidents of coyotes chasing, attacking or biting humans. The latest bite incident recorded in the park took place on August 11.
The Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES), which records coyote sightings in Stanley Park, says since the slaughter ended on September 21, more than two dozen coyote sightings have been reported in several areas of the park. .
“People have seen them from afar and they run away when people are around, which is very encouraging,” said Nadia Xenakis, Urban Wildlife Program Coordinator for SPES.
“This is how coyotes should behave in Stanley Park.”
The ongoing aggressive attacks in four-square-kilometer Stanley Park, which receives about 10 million visits each year, have baffled researchers and officials.
UBC’s Kristen Walker, who has studied coyotes in the park using motion capture cameras, says autopsy results from slaughtered animals have not been completed and a task force of researchers and several levels of government were trained to uncover all of the factors that contributed to the attacks.
In the meantime, she says the feeding of wildlife in the park has continued and if it doesn’t stop, it could again be contributing to the problems with the coyotes there.
“As a community, we must always be able to work for coexistence in the park,” she said. “Coexistence is something that we have to create. We still have a way to go.”
Feeding wildlife is now illegal
At the end of October, a regulation was promulgated by the municipal authorities, making it illegal to feed any wildlife in any city park. The penalty is a fine of $ 500.
The Vancouver Park Board said in an email to CBC News that to date no one has been fined under the new regulations.
He said park rangers are working to get people to comply through education, but will issue tickets if necessary.
Park rangers do not have the power under the Police Act to request ID in order to impose fines, but the park council said police and provincial conservation officers do, and park rangers can ask them for help.
In September, two people were arrested for breaking provincial wildlife law for allegedly feeding coyotes. The province has not yet specified what sanctions it faces.
Walker and Xenakis said a new study has been launched in the park to better understand animal feeding, either directly or indirectly, such as trash omission.
The park board said an awareness campaign “to educate residents about the dangers and consequences of feeding wildlife” will continue and intensify during the coyote breeding season in the spring.
Xenakis and other experts are still not sure exactly how many coyotes live in the park and whether the ones we see are the same animal, but she is not surprised that there are animals around.
“I predict that there are probably a handful of coyotes in the park right now that could have been here before the slaughter or moved in after the slaughter,” she said.
Scare the coyotes
Walker said if people saw coyotes in the park, they should try to disturb them by making noise and scaring them.
“You don’t go up, you don’t try to get close to it to get that image,” she said. “If anything, what we could do is try to make sure the coyotes keep that healthy distance. “
The public is urged to report any aggressive coyote behavior or coyote feeding to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.