Burnaby Now, February 15, 2016 – Burnaby’s Central Park is safe: Ecology Society

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The Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES), the group that handles the coyote education program on behalf of the City of Burnaby, is reminding residents Central Park is a safe place. (Photograph By File)

Despite a recent incident involving an attack by a group of coyotes on a small dog at Central Park in Burnaby, the park is still a safe place to be.

That’s the message from the Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES), the group that handles the coyote education program on behalf of the City of Burnaby, who were recently in the park to educate locals about the wild animal.

“I think a lot of [people] are surprised to find out you can actually scare away a coyote pretty easily,” said Greg Hart, a programs coordinator with SPES.

If people act big and aggressive toward a coyote, the naturally shy and timid animals will become fearful of humans and dishabituate, he added.

The problems is when coyotes have positive interactions with humans like being fed or finding food sources, they become bold and aggressive.

SPES set up a tent in the park Sunday to handout educational material to residents in response to a story in the NOW on Feb. 12 about family dog that was chased by coyotes in Central Park.

Mary Gifford told the NOW she was walking her young dog Mable in the park on Feb. 7, when three coyotes came out of nowhere and chased her pet.

Mable was chased on to Kingsway where she was hit by a car and killed trying to cross the busy street in an attempt to get back home.

Hart said the story prompted more calls to the society about coyotes in the park, but none of the reports were about the animals being aggressive.

He said for now the SPES is just trying to educate the public about coyotes, but noted if the society gets more calls about an aggressive animal, conservation officers could be called in to deal with the situation.  

Most people Hart spoke with at the park on Sunday understood the coyotes need their space and need to be treated like wild animals.

“Our primary thing is, we don’t want people to be afraid of these animals,” Hart said.

Last year, the SPES dealt with 1,700 coyote reports around Metro Vancouver, including 120 in Burnaby.

Hart is urging anyone from the public who spots a coyote to report it to the SPES.

To report a coyote sighting, you can call 604-681-9453 or the SPES website at stanleyparkecology.ca.

– See more at: http://www.burnabynow.com/news/burnaby-s-central-park-is-safe-ecology-society-1.2173068#sthash.0OIWG8Jx.dpuf