A Memorial University of Newfoundland professor says St. John's should look at how other Canadian cities are dealing with coyotes now that the animals are being spotted in and around the provincial capital.
"There are thousands of coyotes living in Vancouver, hundreds in Calgary … and they seem to be able to co-exist with people They don’t shoot the coyotes all the times that they come into the city," said geography Prof. Alistair Bath, who specializes in trying to understand people’s attitudes towards wildlife.
"Most cities have moved toward co-existence campaigns."
A coyote was killed Tuesday near Torbay Road in St. John’s, after sightings of the animal were reported in many parts of the city. Police and wildlife officers stopped the animal — which, officials later told CBC, was a 29-pound male.
Bath said conflicts between coyotes and people are uncommon across North America.
He said there have been reports of the animals attacking people in both the U.S. and Canada and there has been one coyote fatality in Canada when a woman was killed by coyotes in Nova Scotia two years ago.
Bath said research in Newfoundland and Labrador has found people agree with killing coyotes that wander into residential areas.
"We did a study a couple of years ago and there is certainly public support for killing coyotes when they get into people’s backyards. There is a lot of fear in this province about coyotes, and that could be what is driving the attitudes. We see much less fear towards large carnivores in other parts of the world," he said.
In Vancouver, officials monitor the movement of coyotes carefully and residents are educated about how to interact with the animals safely.
Bath said anyone who encounters a coyote should "act big" and try to intimidate it by raising their arms and making loud noises or even throwing rocks.
He said people should not run when they see a coyote because that may provoke the animal to chase and attack.