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

PQB News reader Randy Hall set up a camera at the beach in Parksville, in the same spot every day in February, to capture the changing days and weather. (Randy Hall photo)
WATCH: Scenes from 28 days in February in Parksville

PQB News reader Randy Hall set up camera in same location each day

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

(PQB News file photo)
Some frustrated Parksville Qualicum Beach residents now tossing recyclables in garbage

Option is driving to collection centres in Nanaimo and Courtenay

Mike Garland, fundraising member of the Oceanside Community Track committee, visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Mike Garland’s group wants an updated running track in Parksville

Podcast: Talk includes fundraising, plans to upgrade aging facility and more

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Hannah Ankenmann, who works with k’awat’si Economic Development Corporation, winces as she received her first shot of the Pfizer vaccine administered by a Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Family Health nurse. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
Vancouver Island’s small remote towns to get community-wide vaccine clinics

Island Health to take a wholesale approach to immunization, rather than age-based appointments

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.
21-year-old motorbike rider dies after crash with ATV on Nanaimo back road

Incident happened Sunday afternoon near Boomerang Lake

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complains about that condo

Most Read