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.
Vancouver Is Awesome spoke to Vancouver resident John McLean, who saw a group of coyotes near his home at Nanaimo and 18th on Thursday between 3 and 3:30 p.m.
“We have a big picture window, and they saw us looking at them and seemed unbothered by our presence. We knocked on the window and they didn’t really react.”
McLean notes that these particular animals looked large, powerful, and unafraid. While he’s seen coyotes in East Vancouver in the past, they were usually scrawnier and more skittish.
McLean said his partner had to go outside, clap, shout and eventually run at the coyotes to make them go away. The animals finally began to walk down the street as his partner continued to run at the coyotes until they crossed the street and went down the block.
“There is a guy that lives in a camper in the Trout Lake parking lot, on the concession stand side, but he switches between that parking lot and the one near the small baseball diamond, and he feeds all the birds and animals in the park,” he said.
“He spends hours doing it. He has a flock of crows following him around all the time. It’s a huge nuisance. I have reported him and his encampment to the city many times but nothing has been done about it. I’m speculating but I wouldn’t be surprised if he feeds the coyotes as well.”
McLean added that there are a number of van-dwellers that seem to permanently live in the Trout Lake Community Centre parking lot. However, he feels that the man who feeds the animals may be an outlier of that community.
“There’s a few houses being built or renovated in my neighbourhood and the workers are really careless about trash including food waste so I think that is exacerbating the issue as well,” he said.
SPES recommends keeping your dog on a leash when going out for walks, especially at night. Both dogs killed in the North Shore last year were off leash at the time of the attacks.
If you see a coyote, scare it away by yelling, stamping your feet and waving your arms. Make lots of noise and try to look big. This may feel silly, but will help the coyote avoid future problems. Teach children how to scare away a coyote if they see one, but never throw anything at the animals.