Bold coyote sparks alarm in Vancouver neighbourhood
'I was shrieking and screaming at the top of my lungs,' says Mount Pleasant resident
An aggressive coyote turned a routine evening walk last Monday into a terrifying experience for a Vancouver mother.
The animal has been spotted regularly in the Mount Pleasant area since late December, showing up in yards and even on doorsteps at all hours of the day.
But this encounter, which occurred just after 5.30 p.m. near Manitoba Street and 11th Avenue, was unusually bold.
Katherine Wade was holding her 18-month-old as she got her stroller out of her car trunk. Wade turned to see a healthy-looking coyote standing arms length from her three-year-old daughter.
Wade began screaming and making alarm sounds in an attempt to scare the animal way. She scurried her children across the street, but the coyote followed, cornering them in a neighbour's garden.
"I was shrieking and screaming at the top of my lungs," recounts Wade.
The coyote retreated, then came at them again three more times before neighbours were able to scare it off.
Unusually agressive behavior
Madeline Irving-Chan, the co-ordinatoor of a coyote education program run by the Stanley Park Ecology Society, says the bold behaviour is unusual.
Irving-Chan says that with up to 300 coyotes living an all parts of Vancouver, encounters between coyotes and humans are fairly common, especially if the animals have been fed by people, either directly or inadvertantly.
Tactics like screaming, banging pots and charging a coyote will usually scare it away.
Not in the case of this coyote, which has been spotted throughout Mount Pleasant numerous times since Christmas.
The animal does not appear to be frightened by humans. John Davis, another area resident, spotted the coyote on his property during daylight hours and was only able to scare it away using an airhorn.
Illegal feeding likely the culprit
Irving-Chan confirmed that a resident in the neighbourhoood had been feeding the coyote, which is illegal under B.C. conservation laws. Conservation officers are aware of the coyote and its behaviour and are assessing the situation.
In the meantime, a resident has posted warning signs on poles on 10th Avenue and some parents are avoiding the local children's park.
Irving-Chan urges people to remove all possible food sources, try to scare the coyote away if you see it, and keep a close eye on pets and small children when outdoors.
"I would want to be vigilant. I think there is cause for concern in this case."