Feeding likely led to coyote conflict in East Van – and education will prevent more

Education and enforcement will be the key duo in preventing more conflict with coyotes in an East Vancouver neighbourhood.

The CBC reported on an incident in the Trout Lake earlier this week in which a couple’s small, mixed-breed dog was picked up by a coyote – whether in a predatory or defensive gesture is unknown. The dog’s owner did exactly the right thing.

"I just kept running towards it and yelled at the top of my lungs and it scared the coyote off,” he told the CBC. The dog, Opi, was taken home without injury.

A representative for the Stanley Park Ecology Society, an organization that attempts to track coyote sightings and conflicts in and around Vancouver, noted that there has been a seeming increase in the Trout Lake area, telling the CBC that “"it seems like someone, intentionally or unintentionally, is feeding them.”

And that would be an apt description of what precedes most wildlife conflict: feeding. Wild animals, particularly those who can be conditioned into greater proximity tolerance with people, will begin displaying atypical behaviour when they regularly receive food from people.

This food does not necessarily need to be hand feeding – it can be unsecured garbage, overflowing bird feeders (which attract rodents and in turn coyotes), or even pet food that’s left outside. Any kind of regular food source will cause animals to change their behaviour – just like it would your domestic dog or cat.

Coyotes can likewise be taught to stay away from people by using the same theory, but backwards. This is known as hazing – and it’s pretty much exactly what Opi’s dad did to scare away the coyote involved in the most recent incident.

The Fur-Bearers believes co-existence is not only possible, but beneficial. And it starts with education. That’s why we’ve developed door hangers, brochures, and other information communities can utilize to educate their neighbours and prevent conflict. After all, coyotes are learning to live with us – shouldn’t we learn to live with them?

To learn more about our co-existence programs and get involved, please email info@TheFurBearers.com.

Photo by Carson Au

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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