Calgary kills aggressive coyote that nipped a golfer

The City of Calgary has killed a coyote that nipped a golfer in the northwest.

Strategy to scare the animal away 'just wasn't working,' conservationist says

A coyote, not pictured, has been killed after becoming more aggressive toward people in northwest Calgary recently. (Peter Vaudry)

City crews have killed a coyote that nipped a golfer in the northwest last month.

The male coyote had been on the city's radar for at least a year as a problem animal, Calgary Parks urban conservation lead Chris Manderson said.

Conservation officers had been trying to dissuade the animal from going near people by yelling and shooting paintballs at it — strategies known as "hazing," meant to train an animal to fear humans.

"It just wasn't working," Manderson said. "This particular coyote, which was a larger male, was showing signs of getting more aggressive."

On June 28, the coyote nipped a golfer on a golf course, and within a day, the city decided it had to be put down. They did so using a firearm, Manderson said, and the coyote's killing was the first for the city in more than a decade.

"When you think about it, killing an animal that way in the city is certainly a high risk thing," he said.

"We want to make sure we're doing this with safety in mind."

Chris Manderson says efforts to dissuade the coyote from going around humans failed. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

The coyote was believed to have been roaming the northwest community of Panorama Hills, which is represented by Ward 3 Coun. Jyoti Gondek.

She also lives in the area, and said the decision to put down the animal was "absolutely the right call."

"The attack on the golfer, which was a nipping incident from what I understand, it was not serious, but all the same, in the interest of public safety, the animal was destroyed," Gondek said.

"It's a little bit scary. I live in Panaroma Hills. I know there's coyotes right outside my backyard on a regular basis, so these are very real concerns and we don't take them lightly."

Last year, the city closed two trails because of two aggressive coyote sightings in the area. At a golf course, a man tried to fight off an animal.

Ward 3 Coun. Jyoti Gondek says people need to pick up after their pets and put trash away so coyotes don't get comfortable around humans. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Gondek noted that the responsibility for dealing with problem coyotes has only recently fallen to the city. She said the city is working with Alberta Fish and Wildlife to determine better techniques to deal with problem coyotes, as the current strategies don't always work.

For example, she said when coyotes are relocated or killed, sometimes more aggressive ones move in to their dens and territory, exacerbating the issue.

'Getting too comfortable'

Calgarians are asked to ensure they don't leave compost or trash outside, and to pick up after their pets. That all can be food for coyotes, encouraging them to become more comfortable in neighbourhoods.

Hala Rifai, who lives in the community, said she considers herself and her neighbours as visitors to the area, and that pets can't roam freely without risk of interacting with coyotes.

"We're getting too comfortable thinking this space is all ours and we can come and go as we please," she said. "You can't come out here and expect… you're completely safe, because you're not."

With files from Anis Heydari, Mike Symington and Helen Pike