A recent coyote sighting in Winnipeg's Point Douglas neighbourhood has some residents keeping a close watch over their pets.

Similar sightings have been reported in The Forks and the Exchange District as recently as Friday.

James Kane said he thought he saw a mangy-looking dog along the riverbank when he was driving home from school late last month, but then he realized it was a coyote.

"I think my exact term to myself was, 'What the heck are you doing out here?'" Kane said with a laugh.

Kane snapped several photographs of the coyote before the animal ran away.

"It seemed rather curious of me, but didn't want to get anywhere near me," he recalled.

Manitoba Conservation confirms that the animal in Kane's photographs appears to be a coyote.

A department spokesperson told CBC News that while sightings are rare, since coyotes are generally afraid of people and aren't known to venture into populated areas, they do wander along rivers and end up in the city from time to time.

Conservation staff have received "a few calls in recent days" about similar sightings, the spokesperson said in an email, adding that there have been no reports of confrontations between coyotes and humans or pets.

Sel Burrows, a community activist in Point Douglas, said he hasn't seen a coyote in the area yet but he has warned residents to keep a close eye on their cats and small dogs just in case.

"We haven't seen as many stray cats as we used to see, but that may be just be the cold weather," Burrows said.

Kane said he hasn't seen the coyote since that one sighting, leading him to wonder if it's still hanging out in Point Douglas or if it has moved elsewhere.

Coyote safety tips

Manitoba Conservation has some tips on how you can protect your pets from coyotes, as well as what to do if you encounter a coyote outdoors:

  • When walking, it is always a good idea to keep pets on a leash, especially if you’re near the edge of the city or if you’re walking near the river.
  • Make sure garbage is not left loose or open in your yard, as it may attract wildlife.
  • Feed pets indoors, as animals and food left outdoors can make wildlife curious and attract them.
  • If you see a coyote, make noise, or wave your arms as the noise and activity will typically scare them away, or simply make noise by carrying some pebbles in a container and shake them as you walk.

(Source: Manitoba Conservation)