Province planning partial cull of Stanley Park coyotes

Coyotes will be culled

UPDATE 1:10 p.m.

With more attacks in Stanley Park reported in the last few days the province says it's working on new coyote management strategies.

Since last year at least 45 coyote attacks have occurred according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS), with multiple children involved recently. Because of the "extraordinary circumstances" the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development (FLNRORD) will be taking more direct action.

"FLNRORD will be undertaking direct coyote management controls that includes lethal removal to ensure human safety," the ministry states in an email to Vancouver is Awesome.

They note while co-existing with wildlife is an important principle, there is an "escalating risk to public safety."

ORIGINAL 10:50 p.m.

As the conflict between Stanley Park's resident's coyotes and people continues to increase, the message from the BC Conservation Officer Service is clear: don't feed the animals — any of them.

"As of today, we've had 45 confirmed reports of attacks," COS Insp. Drew Milne reported Wednesday.

There were three additional coyote attacks in the last 24 hours and two were on four-year-old children. "I'm happy to report that both children are in good shape and are in good spirits as well."

The third attack was on a "large individual," which Milne said demonstrates that "this can happen to anyone."

The COS will continue to work with the park board and municipalities to find a solution, he added, noting that there are multiple situational factors that must be investigated, including feeding.

"We've received some reports of individuals feeding the animals for photography reasons but also because they believe they are doing the right thing," he explained. "That is a disservice to the wildlife; we are inadvertently going to kill the wildlife because of that.

"The coyotes are demonstrating this behaviour because of feeding as well as other situational factors."

Conservation Officers killed one coyote in the park Wednesday morning. The coyote was highly habituated and showed no fear of people – it walked up to within one metre of officers who were shaking a container of food.

Conservation officers will investigate attacks on an individual level, explained Milne, but they won't conduct a full-scale cull of the coyotes. "That's not the mandate of the BC Conservation Office Service."

The COS will ticket anyone feeding dangerous wildlife in Stanley Park. However, the officers can't fine individuals for feeding animals that aren't considered "dangerous" — but they shouldn't feed any of them.

"It's not the right thing to do to feed any sort of wildlife in the park," said Milne.

Fur-Bearers executive director Lesley Fox underscores that people must stop feeding the wildlife in the park. On a recent visit, she says she saw multiple incidents of people distributing food or feeding animals directly.

"Birdseed brings in rats and mice and squirrels which attracts coyotes. When there's birdseed all over the trails in public areas people think they're helping the birds but what they don't understand is it's a cascade effect," she said.

She also spotted someone feeding a raccoon for close photographs, while other individuals were leaving food in the trees.

The Vancouver Park Board announced this week that Stanley Park would be closed starting at 7 p.m. to keep people out while the animals are most active.

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