Hiker death triggers warnings about coyotes
Parks Canada is holding talks about coyote safety in the Cape Breton park where a hiker was fatally attacked last year.
The four open houses in Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia are designed to inform hikers about coyote behaviour and hopefully prevent attacks like the one that killed Taylor Mitchell, a young Toronto singer.
Park superintendent Helene Robichaud said officials will tell people what to do if they encounter a coyote.
"Make noise," she said. "More importantly is to try and tell people before you get to that point, maybe you want to hike or walk with a friend."
The sessions are billed as a chance for people to ask questions and share their knowledge and concerns about coyotes in the area.
The open houses are being held over the next week in Neil's Harbour, Ingonish, Cape North and Cheticamp.
Park officials are also posting signs cautioning hikers about aggressive animals.
Mitchell, 19, was hiking the popular Skyline Trail on Oct. 27 when she was attacked by at least two coyotes. She was alone, but other hikers scared off the animals and called 911. She died later in hospital.
Since then, the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources has received a record number of calls from the public about coyotes.
The province has 15 trappers on call to deal with complaints about aggressive animals. Coyotes found near communities will be captured and killed.
The province will also start paying trappers $20 for a coyote pelt when the trapping season begins on Oct. 15.
There are an estimated 8,000 coyotes in Nova Scotia. Provincial officials say as many as 4,000 could be killed by next spring.