Coyotes in Vancouver's Stanley Park have attacked 3 people this week
5-year-old bitten Tuesday, jogger on Wednesday and walker on Friday night
The B.C. Conservation Officer (BCOS) service says a third person has been bitten by a coyote in Vancouver's biggest park this week.
It's the latest in a string of aggressive coyote attacks which have been ongoing since December 2020, puzzling policy makers, biologists and animal activists.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, the BCOS said that around 9 p.m. PT Friday a man walking along a pathway near the public golf course in Stanley Park was bitten on the leg by a coyote and suffered minor injuries.
Conservation officers are patrolling the park trying to trap the animal that bit the man. Any coyotes captured that don't match the description of the animal will be released.
There have been more than 35 aggressive attacks by coyotes in the park since December, with the three new ones this week. Most of the attacks have happened between dusk and dawn.
On Tuesday a five-year-old boy was bitten by a coyote in the park around 9:30 p.m. when the child was running and the animal lunged at him. The boy suffered minor injuries.
On Wednesday a woman was also bitten around 7 p.m. when she was running along Bridle Path near Prospect Point. The animal approached her from behind and bit her on one of her legs.
The Park Board, Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) and researchers from the University of British Columbia are all trying to figure out why the past nine months have produced so many attacks in the park.
From 2001 to 2020 there were a total of eight coyote attacks in the Lower Mainland according to the SPES.
Officials believe a combination of circumstances are behind the attacks including coyotes being fed by humans, late-night visitors to the park and garbage left behind.
Advocates want animal-proof garbage cans put in the park and more patrols by park rangers. City of Vancouver staff are working on a bylaw that would penalize anyone caught feeding wildlife.
Close the park
On Saturday, Kristen Walker, an animal biologist with UBC, said that after three attacks this week, the park should be closed. She is also part of a team that installed cameras in the park in January to better identify and study coyotes.
"I do believe at this point the full park should be closed until the coyote who has been involved is located," she said in a text message. Officials are working to determine if the same coyote is responsible for all three attacks.
Officials have closed parts of the park after previous attacks. Calls to the chair of the Park Board and the mayor's office were not immediately returned on Saturday.
Meantime, the conservation service is reiterating that people should stay out of the park to stay safe. The Vancouver Park Board says around 10 million people visit the four-square-kilometre park each year for its seawall, beaches and forested trails.
So far the BCOS has killed four coyotes in the park, but researchers say culling the animals won't solve the problem as other coyotes, which are plentiful across Metro Vancouver, will just make their way into the park to replace ones taken out.
Click here to learn about how to stay safe from coyotes. Aggressive coyote attacks can be reported to the province by calling 1-877-952-7277.