A coyote in a northwest Calgary neighbourhood that has bitten at least two people and hasn’t responded to weeks of hazing will be killed after being tracked to private land, the city says.
Residents in the Nolan Hill neighbourhood have been living for weeks with what the city described in signs as a lone “unusually bold and aggressive” coyote.
The animal has been spotted feasting on rabbits, padding confidently through neighbourhood streets, and stalking people and pets. It’s responsible for several attacks on people.
In the past two weeks, two women have been taken to hospital after being bit by the coyote — most recently a woman who was bitten outside of her home around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Gregory Hartzler, chief of staff for the office of Ward 2 Coun. Joe Magliocca, said the office has also been told of a third attack.
“We don’t take this lightly at all,” said Lincoln Julie, integrated pest management lead for Calgary’s parks department.
“Because of the urgency of the situation and the concerns raised in the community and the concerns that we have … we think that the removal and destroying [of] the animal is the fastest, safest option at this point.”
Teams spent weeks working to ‘haze’ coyote, to no avail
Typically, coyotes and humans co-exist without problems in Calgary including in Nolan Hill, a community on the edge of the city.
Experts believe this particular animal was trying to establish territory after being displaced.
City contractors had increased their presence in the neighbourhood, with multiple teams spending six to 10 hours each day for weeks working to “haze” the animal by teaching it to associate humans with loud noises and other unpleasant experiences, Hartzler said.
But the animal did not respond to the hazing, officials said.
“We do think that the coyote may have been displaced by some development going on in the area,” Julie said.
“Because there are other coyote packs in the area with established territory, this coyote has nowhere to go.”
Now, contractors are tracking the problem coyote’s movements to private land, where with permission and discussions with the landowner they will attempt to destroy the animal.
“We will leave it up to our contractors to decide on the appropriate method at the time that they’re on private property. They’ll have to discuss with the landowner what the landowner is comfortable with,” Julie said.
Keeping wildlife out of the community has proven difficult, said Hartzler, of Magliocca’s office.
“One of the biggest challenges that we have in the area is we’re surrounded by so much open space, a lot of which is actually private property,” he said.
Tips to stay safe around coyotes
Having a healthy urban coyote population is an important ingredient of biodiversity in Calgary, the city says, especially in helping control the population of rodents and other wildlife.
The city’s website offers the following tips for good coyote-human relations:
- Enjoy all wildlife from a distance.
- Never feed coyotes or leave pet food (including bird seed) outside.
- Be mindful of where your children are and don’t leave them alone.
- Carry a loud whistle or other noisemaking device in areas that have coyotes.
- Throw all garbage in park containers and pick up after your pet.
- In on-leash parks, always leash your dogs.In off-leash areas, if coyotes are present or in the area, keep your dogs leashed. Shorter leashes keep dogs safer.
- Keep your cats indoors.
- Pick up dog feces.
- Close/block areas under porches, decks or steps if you’re having issues with them in your yard.
If you run into an aggressive coyote or one approaches you, the city suggests:
- Do not turn away or run.
- Scare it by shouting and waving your arms.
- Bang sticks or clang pots together at the animal.
- Maintain eye contact and back away slowly.
“You might want to carry a loud whistle or some noisemaking devices when you’re out and about,” Julie said. “Most importantly, be vigilant in the community.”
Last year, 311 received more than 1,500 reports of coyote sightings in the city.