More than two dozen incidents of coyotes scratching and biting people have occurred in Vancouver’s Stanley Park since December 2020. You’ve likely seen media coverage of this – and yes, much of it has been wildly sensational with a great deal of guess work.
But the truth is difficult to find in this series of events. Factually, we’re aware of many pieces of evidence: coyotes are a natural part of the landscape in Canada and British Columbia; Stanley Park is not just a park, but a massive forest and ecosystem; prior to 2020, only a handful of bites or interactions had occurred with coyotes; and, as everyone agrees, these behaviours are concerning.
In much of the media coverage, however, entire swatches of fact are left out, such as the massive shift in human use of the park following the start and progression of the coronavirus pandemic, or the apparent lack of enforcement of feeding bylaws and park use restrictions. This coverage also leaves out the nuance often necessary in a conversation about evidence and ecosystems, something that numerous advocates and experts have noted.
As such, this special report is an in-depth conversation with Dr. Kristen Walker, a professor at UBC who has worked on the ground in Stanley Park recently to collect evidence and begin forming an understanding of changes to coyote behaviour. Our interview was recorded approximately one week ago – and as static media, may not include the most recent information or news.
To learn more about Dr. Kristen Walker’s work, visit https://www.landfood.ubc.ca/kristen-walker/
This week’s episode art shows a coyote in Stanley Park, captured on a trail camera. Provided by Dr. Kristen Walker.