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Burnaby Now, January 12, 2018 − Society studying coyote activity in Burnaby

Cayley Dobie / Burnaby Now

January 12, 2018 10:00 AM

The Stanley Park Ecology Society is using cameras installed on private properties in Burnaby and Vancouver to study the movements of urban coyotes.

Photograph By Ross Sokolovski/Unsplash

Coyotes have been a part of Metro Vancouver’s ecosystem for more than 80 years, and now a group of conservationists is hoping to learn more about the animals.

The Stanley Park Ecology Society has begun a three-month study of coyotes that uses cameras to capture the animals in urban settings, including Burnaby, according to Greg Hart, the society’s urban wildlife programs coordinator.

 “We solicited help from people who frequently see coyotes in their yard,” Hart said.

The goal of the study is to help reduce conflicts between people and coyotes. Hart hopes that by monitoring coyotes’ activities, they’ll be able to better understand the animals’ movements within the region.

“A camera can pretty innocuously monitor – without disturbing anyone – how frequently a coyote does actually use their yard. Maybe people think it’s only there once a month, but it’s actually there all the time or vice versa,” he said.

By figuring out how often coyotes frequent certain properties, Hart hopes it’ll give the society a chance to test out humane coyote deterrents.

“To see if they actually work at excluding and reducing the number of times a coyote does come into an area,” he said.

The details on what deterrents will be tested haven’t been ironed out just yet but there are a lot available that have been recommended but have not been tested in an urban setting like Metro Vancouver, Hart said.

Until then, the society will continue to educate residents about how to avoid conflicts with the urban coyotes, he added.

“The best research has shown that removing attractants – things like open compost, garbage, bird feeders from your yard, are going to be the number 1 tool you can have to keep coyotes away. If they don’t have a reason to be in your yard, they typically won’t be,” he said.

The other thing residents can do to avoid conflicts is to scare away any coyotes they see in their yard. Also, keeping cats indoors as much as possible and walking dogs on leashes if you’re out early in the morning or late at night, Hart added.

Together, these methods solve 95 per cent of all conflicts between coyotes and people before they happen, Hart said.

While the study has only just begun, the society has already received a lot of interest from residents in Burnaby and Vancouver who are keen to have a camera installed in their yard, according to Hart.

He expects they’ll be able to cover about 10 to 12 sites during the duration of the study, which focuses on the society’s partner cities – Burnaby, Vancouver and Richmond.

Anyone interested in taking part is asked to contact Hart at coyote@stanleyparkecology.ca or 604-681-9453.