Open letter: Vancouver Park Board can be part of the solution

A photo of a coyote
A coyote in British Columbia. Photo by Harry Collins / Getty Images

Dear Park Board Commissioners,

It was with sadness and frustration that we read the Conservation Officer Service trapped and killed four coyotes in Stanley Park this week. While we appreciate their priority is public safety, the situation need not have escalated to this point.

Managing wildlife is not within the purview of the Vancouver Park Board; however, there are numerous factors controllable by the Park Board taking place that likely played a strong role in the unique and unusual behavioural changes in coyotes.

In January 2021, The Fur-Bearers sent an open letter to the Park Board with specific tips, including:

  • Highly visible, multi-lingual and graphic based signage regarding feed and the consequences to both wildlife and the people who feed;
  • Waste receptacles being upgraded to be wildlife resistant; and
  • A commitment to actively enforcing by-laws related to feeding in the park.

To date, we are unaware of any significant action being undertaken to address these, and the public is clamoring for information.

Killing coyotes will not solve the problem, as the root causes for this behaviour have not fully been identified and none of the suspected ones addressed. Without a plan that includes the Park Board, other government agencies, local experts/scientists, and stakeholders, we fully expect to see this situation re-emerge in the future. This means public safety has not been properly addressed.

The Park Board must take a leadership role in the complex and unwell ecosystem within Stanley Park. This can include enforcement of new and existing by-laws, increased and multilingual education, funding and supporting appropriate research to determine causes of behavioural shifts, and a clear plan for moving forward, which accounts for ethics, ecology, and the needs of native wildlife.

Most of all, this situation requires the full political will of the Vancouver Park Board. Seven months ago, we asked you to act to prevent the situation from escalating. Now, we are asking you to act to prevent even more needless, inhumane killing of native wildlife in their homes.

The Vancouver Park Board can be part of the solution, or part of the problem. The choice is yours.

Respectfully,

Lesley Fox, Executive Director, The Fur-Bearers

Take Action!

You can send a polite letter to the Vancouver Park Board asking them to be part of the solution, too. Pull points from above and remember to be respectful and this is about coexistence with all species in Stanley Park.

You can use a form on the Park Board website (click here) or send an email to:
Tricia.Barker@vancouver.ca
john.coupar@vancouver.ca
Dave.Demers@vancouver.ca
Camil.Dumont@vancouver.ca
Gwen.Giesbrecht@vancouver.ca
John.Irwin@vancouver.ca
stuart.mackinnon@vancouver.ca

Please CC your correspondence to Jennifer Psyllakis Director, Wildlife and Habitat, BC Wildlife Branch at FishandWildlife@gov.bc.ca

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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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