Coyotes have been a hot topic in the City of Burlington in the last couple of years. The suburban community, located on Lake Ontario between Hamilton and Toronto, has large, manicured parks, ravine systems with trails, and travel corridors such as a rail line, regional highways, and waste water systems. It really is a great place to live – for people as well as coyotes.
Our friends at Coyote Watch Canada got involved early, bringing messaging to the community about feeding of wildlife, the need to investigate and track sightings and interactions, and hazing.
And now the city is preparing to adopt a full coyote response strategy. This plan includes everything from how to implement feeding by-laws and wildlife-proof garbage receptacles on city property to the reporting of sightings and hazing activities.
It also, unfortunately, includes a lethal option. But the city staff have taken this request from council and made it as responsible and rational as possible.
The escalation plan includes 16 phases, such as observation (coyote heard, scat/footprints seen) and sighting (coyote entering an empty yard), all the way to unprovoked human attack. It is only when a human has been bitten by an unprovoked coyote (no pet involvement, no feeding, no pups nearby, etc.) that lethal control will become an option. At that point, city staff will also ensure that a full investigation, necropsy of the coyote (if it is killed) and other medical testing takes place.
The plan also notes that any trap placed on public land would have to be monitored 24 hours per day while in use – meaning trapping would likely not be an option.
The Fur-Bearers are pleased to see city staff work with a non-profit like Coyote Watch Canada and put resources into developing a responsible, reasonable plan to managing and preventing wildlife conflict. Congratulations are in order.
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