The Stanley Park Ecology Society is warning people not to feed "a very comfortable coyote" that has been spotted hanging out during the day near the Beach Avenue entrance of the park.   

While the coyote has not shown any aggression to people yet, officials are concerned people spotted feeding it will lead it to quickly adapt to other human food sources such as garbage, compost and even small pets.

“It is crucial that this coyote find its own food for its own health and safety and the safety of people and their pets,” says Dan Straker, the urban wildlife programs coordinator with the society.

Straker warns while people might think it is fun to feed the wild animal, it does the animals no good, and can lead to them getting shot if they lose their fear of humans.

"You are training an animal to stop hunting for its own food, which is actually the more nutritious food. You are making them addicted to a food that they start to rely on. When they get grumpy and don't get that food they can become aggressive towards people."

"People really need to start thinking of it as animal abuse when they see someone feeding because it is essentially animal abuse. You are basically causing that animal to be destroyed by government because of the aggressive actions it might take."

Anyone spotting a coyote is advised to try to scare it off by yelling and waving their arms overhead.

There is no shortage of food for the animals in the city, where small rodents make up three quarters of their diet, said Straker.

Since they were first spotted in Vancouver in 1987, coyotes have become common across Metro Vancouver, particularly on golf courses and in parks.

In 2012 Straker estimated there were about 2,000 coyotes in the Lower Mainland with up to 300 living in Vancouver alone and about five or six in Stanley Park. 

Google Maps: Stanley Park's Beach Drive entrance