Beware Metro Vancouver coyotes chasing extra food for their spring pups: Conservation experts
Coyotes are well adapted to living in cities, says the Stanley Park Ecology Society. They are naturally wary but if they become too comfortable with people, they may act aggressively, especially during denning season when they’re trying to feed spring pups.
Photograph by: Michael Schmidt
Urban wildlife experts are warning residents to be wary of coyotes as denning season peaks, leading to reports of aggression and attacks on pets.
“Coyotes have their pups around March and April, and they’re more likely to be protective which can lead to more aggression near denning sites,” said Dan Straker, Stanley Park Ecological Society’s urban wildlife programs coordinator.
According to Society data, there were more than 60 coyote sightings in Vancouver alone in March, with clusters near Stanley Park, Dunbar and Point Grey including one report of an animal acting aggressively to people in the Killarney area. In North Vancouver, there was one report of an animal acting aggressively at Lynn Canyon. There were 113 sightings through the region in March.
This month there have been 20 sightings in Vancouver, with clusters in Stanley Park and near King Edward Avenue and Fraser Street.
In 2013, there were 1,349 sightings reported to the Society. So far this year, there have been 369. The Society estimates 200 coyotes live in the city of Vancouver and 2,000 in the Lower Mainland.
Well into the late spring and summer, coyotes with pups will be hunting for additional food which can put them at increased risk of inappropriate contact with humans right through to August, Straker said.
B.C. Conservation Officer Const. James Kelly said that while it hasn’t been a banner year for coyote calls, since April 1, conservation officers have responded to 17 reports in the Tri-Cities area, 16 in Vancouver, 10 in Maple Ridge and a few here and there in Surrey, Langley, Burnaby and North Vancouver.
Mission resident Karen Gardner couldn’t get her dog on a leash before she lost him to a coyote on March 27.
Her Pomeranian ran out of her house that afternoon into a greenbelt in her Cedar Valley neighbourhood. When she found him hours later, he was so badly mauled he needed to be put down.
To report a coyote sighting you can call the Society at 604 681-WILD or visit www.stanleyparkecology.ca.
Report aggressive coyotes or incidents of suspected coyote feeding to the Ministry of Environment at 1-877-952-7277.