Trail in western P.E.I. closed after video of encounter with coyote
'He just walked along with us for a while and then after a while he kind of started to play a bit'
A trail in western P.E.I. is closed after a video circulated on social media showing an encounter with a coyote.
Kim DesRoches and Cindy Perry were walking on the Trout River trail Sunday around 6 p.m. when they spotted the animal.
"He just walked along with us for a while and then after a while he kind of started to play a bit, he got more comfortable with us and then we kind of started taking some videos and pictures," DesRoches said.
"The video I shared was probably a little bit further along in the walk, but he was definitely friendly."
DesRoches said she and Perry never felt threatened by the coyote.
30 feet away
"He was probably 30 feet [away] but any time we would clap our hands or stomp our feet, he would run away," DesRoches said.
"We had gotten two sticks to carry with us and we're just like, let's just keep walking and if he comes close, we'll clap our hands."
The coyote proceeded to follow them for more than 30 minutes and even seemed to want to play.
"That type of interaction is unusual," said Garry Gregory, a biologist with the P.E.I. fish and wildlife division.
"It really looked as if the coyote was just being very playful and curious and kind of responding to the enticing cues that the trail users were providing to it."
Gregory said it's not uncommon for people to encounter coyotes on trails, particularly in the winter, as the animals use the trails as readily as people do.
"Typically when people encounter coyotes on trails, we like to encourage them to actively haze the coyotes to make sure it's a negative type of interaction with the coyote so the coyote maintains that natural wariness of people," Gregory said.
"Experiences that coyotes have that may contradict that, or actively encourage the coyote to approach people, could possibly inform future behaviour of that coyote."
This is the time of year where we can get conflicts between coyotes and larger dogs.— Garry Gregory, fish and wildlife
Gregory said people can expect to see more coyotes across the Island at this time of year.
"This is mating season. So they tend to be a little more obvious on the landscape," Gregory said.
"This is the time of year we tend to get the most reports about coyotes in both more rural settings, also in suburban-type settings as well."
Gregory said it's not uncommon to see coyotes in the middle of the day, early afternoon or early evening this time of year.
"This is the time of year where we can get conflicts between coyotes and larger dogs because there's some territoriality associated with breeding season," Gregory said.
"If there's anything to suggest that it's particularly bold or aggressive behaviours that you're seeing in coyotes or if they're seeing coyotes in and around their homes on a regular basis, a predictable pattern of behaviour, that's something that we would like to know for sure."
The Trout Unlimited Prince County Chapter said the trail will reopen when they feel it is safe for visitors.