Canada

Coyote shot after 2 Calgary toddlers attacked

A coyote has been shot and a 2nd is being tracked after 2 small children were bitten in separate incidents at Calgary playgrounds Tuesday.

One coyote has been shot and a second is being tracked after two small children were bitten in separate incidents at Calgary playgrounds Tuesday.

Emergency services says a three-year-old boy was playing in Confederation Park in northwest Calgary at about 10 a.m. when he was attacked.

Witnesses said a coyote grabbed Leonard Mustafa by the head, puncturing the skin on his head, under his eye and on the left side of his face.

A worker from the boy's daycare scared off the animal, which hasn't been confirmed to be a coyote. Leonard was taken to hospital for treatment.

At 3 p.m., paramedics were called to the Rosedale Community Centre in northwest Calgary to deal with a 2 ½-year-old girl.

Ellie Judson had been attacked while playing outside with her babysitter by an animal witnesses described as a coyote.

Her mother, Suzy Judson, said the child had puncture wounds to her head and right ankle.

"We feel quite lucky ... it could have been a lot worse," said Judson. "But it's not a phone call you like to get."

Ellie was taken to hospital for treatment as well.

Mike Plato of the city's Emergency Medical Services branch said it was an unusual day indeed.

"It's more common for paramedics to respond to a call where a child had been bitten by a family dog than to respond to a call twice in the same day where a suspected coyote is involved."

At about 4 p.m., police shot and killed a coyote in the area, one of 1,000 thought to be living within the city of Calgary.

The carcass has been turned over to wildlife officials for tests.

Coyote attacks unusual: wildlife officer

Fish and Wildlife officer Ed Pirogowicz said that despite the number of coyotes in city limits, attacks are highly unusual.

"Over the last 20 or 30 years across North America, there's been something like 17 attacks that have been substantiated," he said. "So in North America that's quite a rare occurrence."

That's cold comfort to people who live in Calgary's inner city neighbourhoods, however.

Cher Ferral's house backs on to the park where Ellie Judson was attacked.

She said she has spotted several coyotes emerging from a nearby escarpment and boldly approaching people.

"It's kind of scary that they're coming right up here," she said. "I mean, you would think you could go to the park with your kids and not have to worry about coyotes.

"I think that's pretty scary."

After a pair of attacks in British Columbia four years ago, wildlife officers said the animals are venturing further into the city as they lose their fear of humans.

The animals normally target cats and small dogs, but attacks on young children are not unknown.

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