Coyotes wander Ottawa streets
Coyotes are increasingly roaming Ottawa's south-end neighbourhoods, reports from residents suggest.
"They are not afraid of humans," said Greg Carter, who lives in a wooded enclave off Riverside Drive, south of Hunt Club Road.
He and his neighbours often spot the animals in their yards. Sometimes, the coyotes even root through their garbage.
"When I was taking the pictures of them, I was honking the horn, yelling at them," Carter recalled Tuesday. "They just looked at me and kept going about [their] business."
'Little dogs being left out at night adjacent to a woodlot is just not a good idea.'— John Pisapio, biologist
His neighbour, Ian Mortimer, said in general the animals are "pretty passive" but his family takes precautions such as locking down their garbage.
Carter said he isn't afraid for his own safety, but is concerned for pets and small children.
John Pisapio, a biologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources who studies coyotes, said the coyote population in the region is currently on a natural upswing, as the animals recover from an outbreak of a disease called mange in 2000. But they're not out of control.
He said the main reason for the increase in coyote sightings in the city is urban sprawl — that is, coyotes aren't necessarily moving into cities, but cities are increasingly spreading into areas that have long been occupied by coyotes.
"These animals are regarded as being highly intelligent and adaptable. They are here to stay," he added. "They're part of the ecosystem. And they've been part of the urban landscape for a number of decades too."
Pisapio said under Ontario law, a homeowner can hire an approved agent to destroy a coyote if it threatens a pet.
But he said the most constructive way to deal with coyotes is to coexist with them, and homeowners and farmers should practice due diligence.
"Little dogs being left out at night adjacent to a woodlot is just not a good idea."
Carter said he doesn't want to see his coyote neighours killed.
"I'm more than prepared to live here with them," he said.