Coyote sightings are not uncommon, but attacks on humans are. (BP File Photo)

Coyote sightings are not uncommon, but attacks on humans are. (BP File Photo)

Runners and pets fall target to coyotes, cougars in Lower Mainland

An unprecedented number of joggers have been attacked by coyotes this winter

A jogger bitten by a coyote in Stanley Park this week was the latest in an unprecedented string of coyote attacks this winter – amid other cougar issues and bobcat sightings around the province.

Sixteen people have been bitten by wily coyotes – all of them runners or cyclists – BC Conservation Officer Sgt. Simon Gravel told Black Press Media.

This is what happens when coyotes lose their fear of humans, he said. He guesses the pack animals have watched humans feed other wildlife, and learned humans are a source of food.

It’s normal and healthy to have coyotes in parks — they serve an essential pest control function — but the recent aggression is concerning, Gravel said.

His hope is to “re-fear” the animals to humans, but they don’t have a perfect strategy yet on how to do so. Gravel and his colleagues are working with researchers. Ultimately public safety is paramount, but there is no intention at this time to remove the pack.

“We want to come up with a plan that’s fair for coyotes, the ecosystem and people.”

Gravel estimates there are 12 coyotes in Stanley Park, most likely all part of one pack.

Runners particularly trigger a coyote’s instincts, he said, prompting the Conservation Officer Service to close several trails and issue a warning to the public not to run in the park until further notice. If you do encounter a coyote, act large, be loud and slowly back away without turning around. Do not turn your back, and do not run.

Coyotes aren’t the only animal being watches by Conservation Officers.

Forested areas of Metro Vancouver have had several cougar sightings, including one in Coquitlam where a small dog was captured by a cougar. The dog owner chased the cougar and it dropped the dog, who is expected to recover from the bite wounds.

Most recently, a young coyote was killed by officials after a teen reported being followed home by a pup and its mom.

“Cougar sightings in greenbelt areas are common across the Lower Mainland. If you spot a cougar near your home, it is most likely passing through the neighbourhood and will move on. It is advised to bring children and pets inside. It is not unusual for cougars to target small dogs, or cats, as prey,” BC COS wrote.

In the interior, BC COS warned Kamloops residents to keep an eye out for bobcats and lynx, which have been spotted more than normal this winter. So far no one’s reported an attach, but it’s advised to keep pets leashed when outside.

Are animals going stir crazy, too, as we approach day eleventy-thrice of working from home?

Cougar sightings over the past 12 months are up by 16 over the same range the year before, but COs attended fewer calls and destroyed fewer cats – 17 attendances and three animals were destroyed in the last 12 months compared to 33 attendances and seven cats killed during the prior 12 months. (BC COS statistics are updated on a rolling 12-month basis.)

Coyote and bobcat sightings aren’t tracked, since they are so rarely aggressive towards humans. Sightings of dangerous animals should be reported to the RAPP line: 1-877-952-7277.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


AnimalsDangerous Animals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Hardy mayor Dennis Dugas. (Dennis Dugas photo)
Port Hardy mayor advocates for fish farm industry, talks impact on North Island

The Discovery Islands closures will certainly have an effect on Port Hardy, says Dugas.

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

Debra Lynn photo
Mysterious smoke cloud seen in Seavac Centre

Fire crews did a thorough sweep of the centre.

North Island Gazette file photo of Port McNeill council.
Heated conversation occurs at Port McNeill council over policy request

Port McNeill mayor Gaby Wickstrom wants to see a change in the… Continue reading

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
The Port Alice pulp mill site is being ‘recycled’

Bankruptcy company is overseeing de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring.

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Fingers crossed that procedure can give Cole Moore a new lease on life after decade of seizures

Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. Pandemic emergency measures have been in place for almost a year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Vaccine registration for 90-plus seniors opened Monday

A West Kootenay man died in an avalanche on March 4 while snowmobiling near Mount Payne, which is indicted by the red flag. Illustration: Google Maps
B.C. father of 3 dead after avalanche in West Kootenay

The man was snowmobiling with a group when incident occurred March 4

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

Software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, has been forced to re-skill during the COVID-19 pandemic after more than six years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs in B.C.’s tech industry. (Submitted photo/Shaimma Yehia)
Why skilled immigrant women continue to be shut out of B.C.’s booming tech sector

Experienced software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, hasn’t found a job since she migrated to Canada 6 years ago

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover digging in with B.C.-made part

Kennametal’s Langford plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

Most Read