Manitoba

'Dangerous coyote activity' forces closure of section of Assiniboine Forest: city

A large portion of Winnipeg's Assiniboine Forest has been temporarily closed due to dangerous coyote activity.

Numerous reports of coyotes exhibiting predatory, stalking behaviour, City of Winnipeg says

The province says it has not ordered the city to close the park, but it supports the decision and the city's efforts to raise awareness about aggressive coyote behaviour. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

A large portion of Winnipeg's Assiniboine Forest has been temporarily closed due to dangerous coyote activity.

The City of Winnipeg issued the alert on Tuesday, saying the closure affects the area between Roblin Boulevard and Grant Avenue, from Chalfont Road to the west border of Tuxedo Golf Club.

"It comes after numerous reports of coyotes exhibiting predatory, stalking behaviour and will remain in effect indefinitely under orders by Manitoba Conservation," the city said.

The province says conservation officers have responded to two reports of coyote sightings, but in both instances, no animals were found in the area.

The province says it has not ordered the city to close the park, but it supports the decision and the city's efforts to raise awareness about aggressive coyote behaviour that has been reported.

The City of Winnipeg has temporary closed much of Assiniboine Forest because of coyote activity. (Walther Bernal/CBC )

"I feel nervous about the coyotes in the forest," said Chris Savoie, who runs on the trails at Assiniboine Forest every other day. 

"I hope they will localize on that side of the street," he said, referring to the part of the forest that's closed off.  "I can't guarantee that, obviously, so I'm going to run real fast … and if I see more news that they're closing down the whole forest, I'm going to stay out."

Sarah and Kyle Miller, who recently moved to Winnipeg from Alberta, say they visit the forest for "peaceful, quiet, calming" days with their two daughters at the pond.

"Just embracing nature and watching the birds — it was a very beautiful moment for our family," Sarah said. 

The Millers said they hope the city doesn't close down the entire park. 

"If there's something the city can do to think creatively around controlling the wildlife and having areas like this to remain open, that would be the best solution in my mind," Kyle said. 

Manitoba's conservation department says officials have responded to two coyote sightings at the forest. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Stanley Tait, 13, said he visits Assiniboine Forest about twice a week with his family.

"I'd say just leave it [the forest] and come back once they say it's OK.… I wouldn't risk it," he said.

"I'm not really afraid of coyotes. I've seen lots before, [just] not in here."

The province said coyotes are generally afraid of humans, but can be aggressive if they're protecting their young. 

The province's conservation department says pets should be kept on a leash, as dogs running loose may provoke aggression if coyotes perceive them as a threat to themselves or their young. 

With files from Peggy Lam

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