Nfld. & Labrador

50 coyote sightings in one week have Catalina residents worried

Dozens of coyote sightings in the community of Catalina have residents a little worried about what they can do to protect themselves and how to get rid of the unwanted guests.

Department of Fisheries and Land Resources says maintain eye contact and shout — but don't run

Residents of the community are posting their own coyote sightings on Krista Lane's Facebook thread. (Paula Fleming/Facebook)

Dozens of coyote sightings in the community of Catalina have residents a little worried about what they can do to protect themselves and how to get rid of the unwanted guests.

Krista Lane set up a community thread on Facebook where others could post sightings of coyotes from the area, that way all sightings and information are located in one place and the community can keep track of updates.

As of Tuesday morning Lane told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning that there have been more than 50 sightings this week alone. 

"The first couple of days we were thinking that it's just a couple, probably two or three coyotes throughout the couple of communities just strutting through," Lane said.

"But, nope. It's not. There's multiple."

Lane says these coyote tracks are outside her bedroom window. (Krista Lane/Facebook)

Coyote sightings in and around Catalina aren't uncommon, maybe two or three a year, according to Lane. But, she said it's the sheer numbers this time and the fact they're wandering throughout the community, rather than in the woods surrounding it, that are creating the concern.

"They were seen at the school parking lot. I had two just behind my house. I have a couple of friends [who posted] surveillance videos of them running in their driveways, and it's not just in the nighttime hours," she said.

Very brave

Lane said the coyotes aren't acting aggressively, nor are they afraid of humans; a friend of hers had a close encounter while on a walk. A single coyote ran out in front of her before hustling across a frozen pond to the other side of the community, she said.

"It's very scary, actually, when you have children. In rural areas when you have children and animals, they tend to roam a bit more than what they do in a city," Lane said.

Residents are changing their lifestyles to avoid going outside in some cases according to Lane. 

Coyotes tracks dot the snow outside Lane's house. (Krista Lane/Facebook)

Lane spoke with the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources directly, and posted the contact number in her Facebook thread encouraging other residents to call the department with coyote sightings. She also contacted town council.

"I'm just really hoping that the public is going to hear this and that they do report these sightings, because something needs to be done," Lane said. 

The Department of Fisheries and Land Resources confirmed to CBC News that there have been reports of increased coyote activity in the area of Catalina on the Bonavista Peninsula's east coast.  

The department is telling residents to keep garbage stored away where animals can't get it, and if you do happen upon a coyote do not run away. The department said to maintain eye contact, wave your arms and shout at the animal while still giving it space to escape.

To report a sighting call 709-427-0437 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Newfoundland Morning