More time outside amid the COVID-19 pandemic means more coyote sightings for Canadians, according to senior conservation biologist Dan Kraus.
Kraus is among those at the Nature Conservancy of Canada seeking to educate the public on how to protect their pets and themselves from the animal upon encounters in the wild.
Dogs and joggers have recently come across aggressive coyotes in Metro Vancouver, including in Stanley Park, where there were 16 attacks.
Seeing coyotes this time of year is not uncommon, Kraus said, early spring is when they hunt.
“Unfortunately, coyotes that are injured, starving, young or have been fed by humans can come into conflict with people,” he said.
“Coyotes are an incredible species that despite past efforts to eradicate them have adapted to live in the downtown cores of our cities.”
Their resulting habituation to humans means Metro Vancouver residents must stay a safe distance from the species.
Kraus is offering the following tips to Canadians to keep their pets safe:
- Keep dogs on a leash when going for walks.
- Feed your pets inside, keep them indoors.
- Do not leave pets unattended outdoors.
- Make sure garbage, pet food or compost is not left outside.
- Close off spaces under porches, decks and sheds.
Kraus also has information for anyone who encounters a coyote.
Do not approach, try to feed, touch or photograph the animal from close distances, he said.
If you encounter a coyote and it does not flee, slowly back away and leave the area in the direction where you came from.
“Never run from a coyote as it may trigger a predatory response and give chase,” Kraus said. Instead, use alarm devices, such as a whistle, bell or phone to frighten the animal.
If the animal exhibits aggressive behaviour, make yourself larger and noisier by raising your arms and voice. In the rare case that the animal continues approaching, Kraus encourages the throwing of rocks or sticks in its direction.
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