British Columbia

3 more coyote attacks have authorities reminding people to stay out of Stanley Park after dark

Coyotes have bitten three more visitors to Stanley Park. All three attacks were at twilight or dark, when authorities have pleaded with people to stay out of the park.

'All these bites really follow a pattern of dawn and dusk,' says conservation officer

This image of a coyote in Vancouver's Stanley Park was captured by a motion-sensor camera in June. There have been dozens of coyote attacks in the park since December. (Submitted by Kristen Walker)

Coyotes have bitten three more people in Stanley Park, with all three attacks happening between dusk and dawn.

Conservation officers have repeatedly asked people to stay out of the park during those hours and are reminding the public once again of the dangers. 

The latest attack happened Monday morning before dawn, when a man was bitten on the leg around 5:30 a.m. on the seawall near Second Beach.

On Friday at 6 a.m., a runner was bitten near Lost Lagoon and later, at 9 p.m., a coyote bit a man walking on the seawall under the Lion's Gate Bridge.

"All these bites really follow a pattern of dawn and dusk, similarly with these last three," Inspector Drew Milne, the region's officer-in-charge of the Conservation Officer Service, told CBC News. "During twilight hours when normally coyotes are out, that's when the attacks happen."

He repeated the provincial agency's pleas for the public to stay out of the park before dawn and after dusk.

"We understand that Stanley Park is an amazing place to recreate, to run and to walk," he said. "But we need to decrease the chances of a coyote encounter, one [way is] to stay out of the park during those hours."

The three encounters are part of a "highly unusual" pattern, experts say.

There have been about 40 coyote incidents in the past nine months in the iconic Vancouver park.

Milne said people ignoring conservation officers' advice and going to the park after dark should be extra watchful and pay attention.

"If individuals choose not to listen to our precautions," he said, "then travel in groups, do not use earbuds or electronic devices that take their attention away from their surroundings, and use lots of caution in the park."

Experts say the cause of the strange and aggressive behaviour is still being studied, but they suspect garbage is being eaten by the animals. Milne said it's believed some people are feeding the coyotes intentionally.

The park board told CBC News last month it was commissioning animal-proof garbage cans for the park, and installed more prominent warning signs with images of coyotes for people to understand the risk. Conservation officers have killed six of the animals this year.

Biologists estimate there to have been roughly a dozen coyotes living in the park for years but can't yet explain this year's sudden spike in attacks on people, including at least two children.

People are warned not to run away if they see a coyote as that can trigger an attack.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David P. Ball

@davidpball

David P. Ball is a CBC News reporter in Vancouver. Send story tips or ideas to david.ball@cbc.ca, or find him on Twitter @davidpball.

With files from Chad Pawson

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