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

Discover Camping reservation service opens March 8 for the 2021 camping season. (The News files)
Camping reservations for B.C. parks opens March 8

Busy season expected again this year for Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

More affordable rental housing is needed in Maple Ridge says a city report. (Black Press Media files)
Report calls for more affordable housing for seniors and families in Maple Ridge

BC Housing conducting virtual dialogue sessions for Maple Ridge residents

Carnival and midway at the Ridge Meadows Home Show. (The News files)
Ridge Meadows Home Show a no-go this year

Executive director Cass Winder disappointed, but hopeful for next year

Construction workers have begun work to repair the Art Infiniti Hotel on the Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Work underway to repair Maple Ridge hotel damaged by fire

Cause of Art Infiniti hotel fire still under investigation

B.C. health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix wore pink shirts to showcase this year’s motto: “Lift each other up.” (Twitter/PinkShirtDay)
PHOTOS: B.C. celebs take a stand against bullying on Pink Shirt Day

‘We need to let young people know they are not alone and they can reach out to others for help’

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Travis Selje with Rex, the family dog he got to enjoy for the final six months of his life. (Submitted photo)
Defence says evidence ‘compelling, overwhelming’ to acquit Surrey woman in deadly crash

Epileptic seizure caused fatal crash that killed Travis Selje, lawyer argues in final submissions

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Justin Morissette is still recovering from the injuries sustained in the altercation. He is not yet able to walk without assistance. (Justin Morissette, Twitter)
B.C. man suing city and police over violent altercation with anti-LGBTQ preacher

Justin Morissette argues police knew the threat the preacher posed, and failed to keep the peace

A male customer without a face mask is seen inside a Burnaby Canadian Tire amidst an altercation with store security and staff members. (Video/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Man arrested after allegedly punching Burnaby Canadian Tire staff over mask rule

Mounties received reports Monday of a customer having punched more than one employee

Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)
COVID-crunched BCHL facing trade deadline dilemma with its 20-year-olds

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

UBC Okanagan students are among the most food insecure in Canada, according to a new study by UBC.
(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
UBC Okanagan students among most food insecure in Canada

42.3 per cent either can’t properly feed themselves, or are worried they will soon run out of money

Most Read