Two children and a man were attacked by coyotes overnight in Stanley Park, bringing the number of confirmed attacks in the Vancouver park this year to 45, according to conservation officers.
In response, the provincial government now says it will cull at least some of the coyotes in the park as soon as possible.
None of the three latest victims were badly hurt, according to the regional head of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS).
Inspector Drew Milne said one coyote was killed near Brockton Oval early Wednesday morning, at the location where a child was attacked at 5 p.m. PT the previous evening.
Before dawn, officers shook a container full of chips and a coyote that had been about 75 metres away, came right up to them, he said.
“This is not normal behaviour. This is demonstrating habituation to people as well as being food conditioned. That animal was subsequently killed,” said Milne.
The <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/BCCOS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#BCCOS</a> is responding to the latest coyote attacks in <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyPark?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#StanleyPark</a> Three attacks occurred overnight, including 2 on children. One coyote, which demonstrated signs of food habituation, was killed. COs will remain in the park to patrol and respond to these specific incidents.
“These are the kind of animals and the behaviours that we are seeing that are causing these attacks.”
The other two attacks took place at 9:30 p.m. PT and 11 p.m. PT, even though Tuesday marked the start of Stanley Park closing from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. because of the recent spike in coyote attacks.
In a statement, B.C.’s Ministry of Forests told CBC it “will be undertaking direct coyote management controls that includes lethal removal to ensure human safety.”
“This is an extraordinary circumstance with dangerous wildlife, with serious escalating risk to public safety,” said the ministry. “We are working through logistical and safety considerations to implement as soon as possible.”
Vancouver Park Board general manager Donnie Rosa said barricades put up at the entrances were not enough to deter people from entering the four-square-kilometre park after it closed on Tuesday, and that fences will now be erected.
“We continue to look at ways to keep people safe and not come into the park overnight,” said Rosa.
Milne said people feeding wildlife is driving the coyotes to become food conditioned and to lose their fear of humans.
Feeding for photography purposes
“We’ve received some reports of individuals feeding wildlife for photography purposes, but also because they feel they are doing the right thing: feeding the animals and helping them out,” he said. “We are inadvertently going to kill the wildlife because of that.”
Anyone witnessing someone feeding wildlife in Stanley Park is asked to report it to the BCCOS at 1-877-952-7277.
Milne advised park-goers to not wear earbuds or earphones and to stay alert to their surroundings.
He said there have been more than the 45 confirmed attacks, but some people are choosing not to come forward.
“We know that there are a lot more attacks going on that are not being reported. We’d like to know why these individuals are not calling them in … We think it’s because they don’t want animals destroyed,” he said.
In a tweet, Vancouver Park Board Commissioner John Coupar said he and fellow commissioner Tricia Barker have called for a special meeting to ask for the immediate removal of coyotes from Stanley Park.