9 coyote attacks in 5 days: Mayor of B.C. city warns against feeding, approaching animal

The City of Mission has seen nine coyote attacks in under a week. (Harry Collins Photography/Shutterstock - image credit)
The City of Mission has seen nine coyote attacks in under a week. (Harry Collins Photography/Shutterstock - image credit)

UPDATE, Sept. 20 — The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says it has killed a coyote in the Mission, B.C. area following a sharp uptick in attacks.

In a Facebook post, officers say a coyote was put down in the vicinity of one of the incidents, which saw three workers get bitten in the same area.

"Conservation Officers believe it is likely aggressive coyotes remain in the area, and the public is asked to continue taking precautions in case of wildlife encounters," the post reads.

ORIGINAL STORY:

The mayor of Mission, B.C., is reminding people not to approach or feed coyotes after the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) reported nine coyote attacks in the city in under a week.

Six coyote attacks happened on Thursday, one occurred on Friday, and two more happened Monday, according to the BCCOS.

No one was seriously injured in any of the attacks, according to the service, but people had to seek medical attention.

Paul Horn, mayor of Mission — about 67 kilometres east of Vancouver — said he believes the sharp rise in attacks is due to people interacting with and feeding the feral animals, leading them to becoming conditioned to humans.

"Unless people are the Roadrunner, they should be not stopping anywhere near and taking photographs of animals," he told CBC News.

"These animals are fast and this particular one — or ones — are very aggressive."

Horn said the city has closed the Silverdale Creek Wetlands, where many of the attacks occurred, as a precaution and officers are stepping up patrols in the area.

The city has been posting signage in areas where the attacks recently occurred, and mailing letters to residents in areas where previous attacks have occurred.

Mission Mayor Paul Horn, speaking from the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver, said that the uptick in coyote attacks is likely due to someone feeding the feral animals.
Mission Mayor Paul Horn, speaking from the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver, said that the uptick in coyote attacks is likely due to someone feeding the feral animals.

Mission Mayor Paul Horn, speaking from the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver, said the uptick in coyote attacks is likely due to someone feeding the feral animals. (CBC)

He added that the city plans to increase public awareness campaigns reminding people not to feed wildlife, with the Fraser Valley city recently running a similar campaign regarding black bears.

"We recognize that this is an issue that everybody is taking very seriously right now in our community," he said.

Conservation officer says euthanization possible

Sgt. Todd Hunter, a conservation officer, says they are currently investigating if a single coyote is responsible for the Monday attacks, but could not say if the previous seven attacks were the work of a single animal.

"It's likely the same coyote," he said. "[The] incidents happened very relatively close together.

"That one was identified to us ... we definitely want to see if we can focus in and remove it from the population."

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says it had no choice but to put down 6 bears last week in a Port Coquitlam neighbourhood.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says it had no choice but to put down 6 bears last week in a Port Coquitlam neighbourhood.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says anyone feeding wildlife could pay a hefty fine. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Hunter said there have been multiple coyotes exhibiting the same kind of behaviour in the area, and the last two attacks were on the edges of the area officers were focusing on.

Lesley Sampson, executive director of Coyote Watch Canada, says coyote attacks are usually due to people feeding wildlife.

"There'll always be another coyote coming into the community, and if the feeding isn't addressed, it becomes problematic," he said.

Hunter said the investigation into the spate of coyote attacks is a high priority for Mission city staff and conservation officers.

He encouraged all B.C. residents to be familiar with coyote safety tips, and that people should try to look large and intimidate coyotes instead of trying to run away.

The sergeant also said that any people feeding wildlife could face hefty fines, and encouraged residents to report coyote sightings or unsafe wildlife behaviour to the province by calling 1-877-952-7277.