Increased chance of encountering coyotes in Metro Vancouver

Increased chance of encountering coyotes in Metro Vancouver

March 11, 2019– Mary Greeley News – While coyotes have been spotted in the Metro Vancouver area for many years, there seems to be a spike in recent sightings of the wily creatures.

Eight coyote sightings have been reported to the Stanley Park Ecological Society in the first week of March alone.

Of course, this isn’t a particularly alarming figure – but some of the encounters are rather unsettling. For instance, an encounter on March 6 describes how a “dog chased one coyote and was pursued by three others.” In addition, a number of encounters involve coyotes following people with dogs.

And while the SPES displays all of the sightings that are called in on its Coyote Sightings Map, not all sightings are reported.

Increased chance of encountering coyotes in Metro Vancouver

What’s more, the Stanley Park Ecology Society coyote sighting map reports a vast number of sightings in January 2019 alone. One sighting indicates how a, “Coyote seemed to be following person and dog at a distance of 100 metres,” while another states how there were, “4 coyotes that seem hard to chase off.”

Perhaps most disturbing of all, a recent sighting on January 23 at 1:35 pm notes how a, “Police officer witnessed coyote chasing several different children. Conservation Officers have been notified.” In addition, this type of encounter is listed as ‘aggressive to people.’

SPES also recommends keeping your dog on a leash when going out for walks, especially at night. Both dogs killed in the North Shore last month were off leash at the time of the attacks.

Keeping cats safe can be more difficult due to their solitary nature and desire to wander. SPES strongly advises keeping cats indoors if possible. Barring that, keeping them inside during the night will reduce the chances of encounters with the largely nocturnal coyotes.

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Madeleine Irving Chan, with Stanley Park’s Co-existing with Coyotes program, says that’s because coyote moms and dads are out foraging for food for their young ones.

“They typically come out in the evening or overnight, but it is possible that you can see them anytime of the day,” she says. “They tend to prefer open spaces.”

“That coyote was definitely being fed, so it was losing its fear of people,” she says. “And then it was approaching people, probably looking for food by getting uncomfortably close.”

Chan says that if you see a coyote, don’t run away from it. Stand your ground and make yourself as big as possible, and make sure to keep your pets leashed when out for a walk.

Mary Greeley News

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