Stop taking selfies with coyotes, says Ahuntsic-Cartierville mayor after attacks

Coyotes are just a normal part Montreal’s fauna, and the recent increase in aggressive behaviour towards humans can be linked to people getting too friendly with them, says borough Mayor Émilie Thuillier.

Borough says coyotes have been around 40 years: getting rid of them is not an option, despite outcry

This coyote is living at the Ecomuseum on Montreal's West Island. (Shaun Malley/CBC)

It's people's new tendency to cozy up to coyotes which needs to be eliminated, not the animals themselves, says Ahuntsic-​Cartierville borough Mayor Émilie Thuillier after recent high-profile attacks by the wild creatures.

Last Friday night, and again on Saturday, a young child in the borough was bitten in the leg by a coyote. Both children were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Thuillier said people need to yell when they see a coyote, not feed them or give them water from their water bottle — something she said is known to happen.

"Don't try to approach them to take a selfie," she told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

She echoed what Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said Monday — that there's no eradicating coyotes from Montreal because they've been here for 40 years.

"Coyotes are here. We can't get rid of all of them. It would create other problems [because] they will come back," Plante said Monday.  

Thuillier​ said the borough is working to trap what it believes are one or two problem coyotes that are attacking people.

Once identified and trapped, those coyotes will be euthanized, Thuillier said.

3-year-old bitten

That isn't good enough for some residents who think the borough and city should take a more aggressive approach.

Carlo D'Anello lives across the street from Parc des Hirondelles, where one of the children, a three-year-old boy, was bitten in the leg last weekend.

He said he won't let his children, seven and nine, play in the park alone anymore.

Despite the borough saying that only a few coyotes are causing a problem, the sight of any of them terrifies residents now.

D'Anello said he was crossing the street with his kids recently when a coyote appeared near a house.

"Everyone started screaming," he said.

He's since started a petition to demand Montreal take action.

"Do something more than what the city is doing now," he said. "The only point at which the city will do something is if a child dies."

Montreal's official opposition agrees that Plante needs to get tough on coyotes.

"In choosing cohabitation with these wild animals, Projet Montréal's administration refuses to assume its responsibilities and ensure the safety of the most vulnerable people," Ensemble Montréal leader Lionel Perez said.

He suggests getting police to patrol the area, trapping and relocating the animals, and imposing fines on people who feed them. 

With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak