Since last year at least 45 coyote attacks have occurred according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS), with multiple children involved recently. Because of the "extraordinary circumstances" the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development (FLNRORD) will be taking more direct action.
"FLNRORD will be undertaking direct coyote management controls that includes lethal removal to ensure human safety," the ministry states in an email to Vancouver is Awesome.
They note while co-existing with wildlife is an important principle, there is an "escalating risk to public safety" and previous efforts haven't worked. They don't believe non-lethal efforts would be successful at this point, noting the size of the coyote population and their behaviour. They also note moving coyotes to new territories is rarely successful and often creates new conflicts with other coyotes already in that territory.
"Starting very soon, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development will trap and euthanize up to 35 coyotes over a two-week period," states the ministry in an email. "The total number of coyotes will be highly dependent on the numbers of animals within the park, trapping success, and the reduction of aggressive interactions."
It's unknown how many coyotes are currently living in or near Stanley Park.
The results of the trapping operation will determine future actions the ministry adds.
"Trapping will be undertaken by professional contractors, employed by FLNR," states the ministry. "The traps will be 'live-capture' and coyotes will be subsequently humanely euthanized."
To keep the traps from being vandalized the locations won't be made public. They'll be active from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. Fencing will be added to the park to limit who's in the park during the trapping hours. There'll be 10 park rangers patrolling the park, as well.
During a press conference Sept. 2, BCCOS Inspector Drew Milne noted that while two of the most recent attacks were on children, one involved a large adult male, showing how little fear the coyotes have for humans.
Additionally, a coyote was caught and killed this week after conservation officers spotted it and shook a box of food. The coyote came over to the officers, showing no fear of them.
Milne noted that it's unclear how many coyotes live in the park right now. He also noted that it's against the service's mandate to cull the coyotes.
The province is currently working through logistical and safety issues right now and plans to release more information in the coming days.
Currently, Stanley Park is closed from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. due to the risk from coyotes. During the press conference Milne recommended people don't go to Stanley Park until two hours after sunrise and leave two hours before sunset.
"We recommend people, if they choose to recreate here, make sure that you're going in pairs, that you're not using earbuds or headphones, and that you're making loud noise and constantly aware of your surroundings," he said.
If you see a coyote you should make yourself big and make loud noises.
EDITORIAL NOTE -- This story was updated Sept 6 with additional information from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development.