Coyote sightings are not uncommon, but attacks on humans are. (BP File Photo)

Coyote sightings are not uncommon, but attacks on humans are. (BP File Photo)

Runners and pets fall target to coyotes, cougars in Lower Mainland

An unprecedented number of joggers have been attacked by coyotes this winter

A jogger bitten by a coyote in Stanley Park this week was the latest in an unprecedented string of coyote attacks this winter – amid other cougar issues and bobcat sightings around the province.

Sixteen people have been bitten by wily coyotes – all of them runners or cyclists – BC Conservation Officer Sgt. Simon Gravel told Black Press Media.

This is what happens when coyotes lose their fear of humans, he said. He guesses the pack animals have watched humans feed other wildlife, and learned humans are a source of food.

It’s normal and healthy to have coyotes in parks — they serve an essential pest control function — but the recent aggression is concerning, Gravel said.

His hope is to “re-fear” the animals to humans, but they don’t have a perfect strategy yet on how to do so. Gravel and his colleagues are working with researchers. Ultimately public safety is paramount, but there is no intention at this time to remove the pack.

“We want to come up with a plan that’s fair for coyotes, the ecosystem and people.”

Gravel estimates there are 12 coyotes in Stanley Park, most likely all part of one pack.

Runners particularly trigger a coyote’s instincts, he said, prompting the Conservation Officer Service to close several trails and issue a warning to the public not to run in the park until further notice. If you do encounter a coyote, act large, be loud and slowly back away without turning around. Do not turn your back, and do not run.

Coyotes aren’t the only animal being watches by Conservation Officers.

Forested areas of Metro Vancouver have had several cougar sightings, including one in Coquitlam where a small dog was captured by a cougar. The dog owner chased the cougar and it dropped the dog, who is expected to recover from the bite wounds.

Most recently, a young coyote was killed by officials after a teen reported being followed home by a pup and its mom.

“Cougar sightings in greenbelt areas are common across the Lower Mainland. If you spot a cougar near your home, it is most likely passing through the neighbourhood and will move on. It is advised to bring children and pets inside. It is not unusual for cougars to target small dogs, or cats, as prey,” BC COS wrote.

In the interior, BC COS warned Kamloops residents to keep an eye out for bobcats and lynx, which have been spotted more than normal this winter. So far no one’s reported an attach, but it’s advised to keep pets leashed when outside.

Are animals going stir crazy, too, as we approach day eleventy-thrice of working from home?

Cougar sightings over the past 12 months are up by 16 over the same range the year before, but COs attended fewer calls and destroyed fewer cats – 17 attendances and three animals were destroyed in the last 12 months compared to 33 attendances and seven cats killed during the prior 12 months. (BC COS statistics are updated on a rolling 12-month basis.)

Coyote and bobcat sightings aren’t tracked, since they are so rarely aggressive towards humans. Sightings of dangerous animals should be reported to the RAPP line: 1-877-952-7277.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


AnimalsDangerous Animals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alycia Weir (left) and Helena Oosthoek (right) of the Golden Family Center stand outside of the GFC building at their Bell Lets Talk stand last February. They are currently raising funds to help support their drop-in counselling program. (Claire Palmer photo)
Family center fundrasing for free counselling program

It’s important to have accesible care in the community

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Okanagan owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Fire ripped through a mobile home on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna on March. 6. (Phil McLachlan - West Kelowna News)
‘My whole life just went up in smoke’; Fire consumes Okanagan mobile home

RCMP confirmed that there were no injuries due to the fire

Most Read