Specific steps leading to coexistence with coyotes in Stanley Park were outlined at a Vancouver Parks and Recreation Board (Park Board) meeting last night.
In a report to Park Board commissioners, Park Board Environmental Stewardship Coordinator Dana McDonald and Acting Director Amit Gandha offered that direct and indirect feeding were a primary driver in the unusual coyote behaviour that ultimately led to 11 animals being killed by the province by autumn 2021. The coyote coexistence plan focuses on four key areas: enforcement, education, attractant management, and aversion conditioning.
Shifting use of the park was also identified as a potential cause in behavioural changes, and it was noted that staff and their partners had identified “gaps in education about coyotes and enforcement of bylaws.”
Park Board staff are working with the City of Vancouver Sanitation department to implement several wildlife-resistant waste receptacles (referred to as “totes” during the meeting). After identifying which is the best candidate for the park, the long-term goal to replace all waste receptacles will begin.
“We don’t want to see it being say, completely great for wildlife, but human use is not there, and we’re finding debris beside the tote,” said Gandha in response to a question on the totes from Commissioner Dave Demers. “We want to understand which options will be sustainable long-term. Once we have that information over the next few weeks, we’ll be working with [City] Sanitation … and come up with a plan to whichever one works best.”
Temporary signage is being implemented immediately, indicating that coyotes are present and feeding them is illegal. Permanent signage will be installed as well. A combination of Park Board staff, Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) staff, volunteers and students will be actively monitoring attractants and feeding. This group will monitor and report feeding and educate visitors, as well as monitor overflowing garbage and report it to ensure they’re serviced. Locations where food is intentionally left will be identified and removed by these groups, as well as dedicated Park staff.
Enforcement of feeding and other bylaws will be the responsibility of park rangers, who will be patrolling Stanley Park 7-days a week in multiple shifts, Gandha explained. Park rangers have issued one ticket for feeding since the implementation of a new bylaw, he said.
While new signage encourages individuals who witness feeding to report it, the number on the sign is for SPES, who will forward on the report to park rangers. How quickly this will occur or if it will mean rangers are deployed in response was not discussed.
The coexistence plan will place a strain on the Parks system, as indicated by Gandha during the presentation: “Any of these additional resources with respect to urban settings management have an operational impact on delivery of services and funding pressures. With that said, we are committed to providing this enhanced service and it is prioritized as a task for both the park rangers and park operations.”
The Fur-Bearers will continue to monitor this and provide updates as they are available. We encourage residents to read more of our educational content regarding Stanley Park, coyotes and coexistence by clicking here.
Further analysis and action opportunities will be posted soon!