City issues warning after two boys bitten by coyote in Ahuntsic-Cartierville
Children suffered minor injuries after each was bitten by a coyote on separate occasions
The City of Montreal is warning people in the borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville to be on the lookout for coyotes after two young children were bitten over the last two days.
A temporary sign was erected Saturday night in Parc des Hirondelles, shortly after a three-year-old boy was bitten in the leg.
According to Montreal police, people in the park saw the coyote around 6:30 p.m. and tried to frighten it away. As it fled, it bit his leg.
He was taken to hospital by his father and only suffered a minor injury.
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Police are canvassing the area to try to find the coyote.
Another incident took place Friday at around 9 p.m. when a five-year-old boy was bitten in the leg a few blocks away at Gabriel-Lalemant Park, also in Ahuntsic-Cartierville.
The boy also suffered only minor injuries.
City issues warning
Coyotes have been spotted in rising numbers in the northern parts of the city, near the Rivière des Prairies, but they very rarely come close to humans, experts say.
The city is warning people to be on the lookout and not to visit the parks after sundown.
In a statement Sunday, it said it's taken measures to secure the Ahuntsic-Cartierville and Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc Extension boroughs, such as installing cameras and bait.
There are also efforts to keep the coyotes away from the residential areas around Parc des Hirondelles, Parc Saint-Lucie, and Champdoré Park, all in Ahuntsic-Cartierville.
City workers are informing residents about what to do if they encounter a coyote, going door-to-door to distribute flyers in the area. Information kiosks have also been set up in the borough, including in Frédéric-Back Park.
The city has advised people not to feed or chase the coyotes, and to keep their pets on a leash.
Residents' safety is a priority, the city said, and it's working with Quebec's Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks to respond to the situation.
A petition created Saturday alleges that the city isn't doing enough to address the problem.
"Municipal parks are for our children to play in. Not hunting grounds for wild animals. The city has done nothing to fix the problem. They simply put up signs," reads the description.
"The police have their hands tied and cannot kill them without permission or mandates from the city. Please help us eliminate this threat from our parks and provide families with a safe environment."
Important not to feed the animals, expert says
If coyotes were in the park, it's because they were able to find food there, said Martin Leduc, a trapper and the owner of a fishing and hunting company in Quebec's Outaouais region.
He said it's important not to feed the animals, to avoid having more come into the city.
Based on what he's heard of the coyotes that have been seen in the Montreal area, Leduc said they appear to be less fearful of humans than those who live in more rural areas.
"The problem must be addressed, and it's quite urgent," he told Radio-Canada.
Montrealers can report a coyote sighting by calling the city's coyote information line, 438-872-COYO.
With files from Radio-Canada