Four coyotes killed in Stanley Park

Photo of a coyote in Vancouver, with an inset photo of a leg-hold trap
A western coyote in Vancouver. Inset, a padded leg-hold trap similar to the one likely used in Stanley Park by the BC Conservation Officer Service. Coyote photo by Devonyu / Getty Images

The BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) has killed four coyotes in Stanley Park and will continue using trapping and killing more. The live traps being used are padded leg-hold traps.

Killing the coyotes in Stanley Park is not a solution to the problems facing wildlife, visitors, or the entirety of the ecosystem. Using leg-hold traps to catch coyotes gives no guarantee of properly catching the targetted coyote, and puts every other animal nearby at risk. These devices have proven time and again to cause suffering. Despite safety precautions taken, there are reports of visitors bypassing marked and taped-off areas; these traps are a very real risk.

Additionally, coyotes are still rearing pups at this time of year, who are at great risk of being injured by these traps.

We appreciate the need to address growing concerns and unusual behaviour of coyotes in the park. However, removing any wildlife does not address the cause of the behaviour change and it doesn’t allow scientists the chance to observe and identify those root causes.

Long-term solutions require leadership and a cohesive plan from those involved; this must include public acknowledgement of what steps are being taken and what plans are in place, identifying the (likely) numerous causes for such shifts in behaviours, addressing outstanding issues related to a lack of signage, upgrades to facilities and enforcement of feeding bylaws, and asking difficult questions about how the park is being used by all visitors.

The Fur-Bearers will continue to advocate for a fully formed coexistence plan, with appropriate government agencies clearly indicating their roles and with whom responsibility for decision-making lays. A Freedom of Information request revealed there has been no enforcement by City of Vancouver or the Conservation Officer Service of wildlife feeding regulations in the park in the last three years. While the situation that has evolved is multi-faceted, it is vital that some of the basic steps recommended by many in the last several months be enacted immediately and an outline of how to move forward be drafted and released publicly by appropriate agencies, community partners, and local experts/scientists.

The above statement was drafted and signed by:

Dr. Kristen Walker, Assistant Professor in Applied Animal Biology. University of British Columbia

Lesley Fox, Executive Director, The Fur-Bearers

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