Open Letter: Park Board can take proactive action for coyote coexistence

A picture of a coyote in vancouver
A coyote (Canis latrans) in a Vancouver green space.
Photo by Devonyu / Getty Images

This letter was sent to the elected Commissioners of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation on April 20, 2023.

Dear Park Board Commissioners and staff,

Recent media reports suggest an increase in coyote activity in the Kitsilano area. Today, the Park Board has an opportunity to be proactive and prevent negative encounters by mitigating problematic human behaviour and ensuring ecologically sound management practices are in place. Coyotes are a natural part of the Vancouver landscape, playing an essential ecological role, and remain quite adept at avoiding humans.

The Fur-Bearers is a registered charity founded in 1953 to protect fur-bearing animals through conservation, advocacy, research, and education.

Coexistence requires humans to recognize and adapt when our actions may be creating issues for wildlife. Feeding (directly to coyotes and indirectly through bird or other animal feeding), off-leash dogs, and off-trail recreation can all contribute to wildlife changing their behaviour. Negative encounters may increase, and without preventative actions, can lead to the killing of sentient, family-oriented animals in this beautiful city.

Challenges facing the Park Board in managing negative encounters in Stanley Park in 2020-2021 were significant; however, jurisdictional confusion, a lack of enforcement and education, and other preventative measures were lacking for several months leading up to the cull of coyotes in the park.

As the agency responsible for the City’s parks, the Park Board can close trails and parks, install new temporary or permanent signage, provide education to residents, enforce wildlife feeding bylaws, and request support directly from other agencies. Taking action on these steps can prevent lethal action, as well as future negative encounters.

The Fur-Bearers is actively providing education through regular digital content, geo-targeted advertising, and door-to-door educational materials in the areas reported as having increased negative encounters or sightings with wildlife. We hope that the Park Board will also take swift action and help keep wildlife wild, ensuring that everyone – animals included – is safe and can coexist peacefully.

We look forward to your response with what specific steps the Park Board is taking to promote coexistence with coyotes in Kitsilano.

Sincerely,

Lesley Fox
Executive Director
The Fur-Bearers

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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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