Nova Scotia

Coyote-human encounters persist despite population drop

Nova Scotia's coyote population is on the decline, according to trappers in the province but that hasn't stopped coyote-human interactions this year.

Trappers say N.S. coyote population is on the decline with more than 3,000 pelts taken this year.

People are to blame for the increase in urban coyotes, says Mark Wood of the Nova Scotia Trappers Association. (Silvio Santos/Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia's coyote population is on the decline, according to trappers in the province. But that hasn't stopped coyote–human interactions this year.  

Mark Wood of the Nova Scotia Trappers Association said humans are to blame for the coyote's bold behaviour.  

"Take a walk down the street, there's so much food-smelling material around whether it be actual food or garbage — that draws wildlife — it doesn't matter whether it's a coyote, or a squirrel or a raccoon."  

Wood compares urban coyotes to an unwelcome freeloader who shows up at dinner time.  

"If nothing happens to me when I go to your house and eat your dinner, I am going to be back there tomorrow to eat your dinner again."  

He said when coyotes don't feel threatened they make themselves at home.  

"When they're showing up in urban places like that and there's no negative reason for them not to come back, then they're going to stay."  

Wood said trappers can and do remove aggressive coyotes pretty quickly but coyotes will always seek out people when food is easy to access.  

During the past year, the province has paid out bonuses on more than 3,000 pelts.

In 2010, Nova Scotia began paying trappers $20 per coyote pelt as part of a bounty program designed to reduce aggressive coyote behaviour.

There were several calls to bring in the bounty after the death of a Toronto singer in October 2009. Taylor Mitchell, 19, was killed by two coyotes while hiking the Skyline Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

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