Picture-snapping public partly to blame for spike in Stanley Park coyote attacks: park board

·2 min read
A coyote in Vancouver's Stanley Park captured by a motion-sensor camera in June. (Submitted by Kristen Walker - image credit)
A coyote in Vancouver's Stanley Park captured by a motion-sensor camera in June. (Submitted by Kristen Walker - image credit)

Vancouver's Stanley Park will now be closed every day starting from 7 p.m., following a recent spike in coyote attacks which the city's park board blames at least in part on people feeding the animals.

The park board's general manager Donnie Rosa told CBC News on Tuesday that the park, which has been closed from dusk to dawn for more than a month, will now have entrances and trails barricaded, and more staff on patrol.

"It's getting darker earlier so we are barricading off the main entrances, adding extra rangers to patrol. We have security on to help keep the park closed the best we can," she said.

The new closure time comes after a recent spike in the number of coyote attacks on people, which Rosa says has been caused in part by social media users.

"We have heard stories of folks going in with raw chicken, cat food, bird seed, throwing that in the bushes and trying to draw the animals out. So, either feeding the coyotes directly or indirectly for the sake of taking pictures and putting it on Instagram," Rosa said.

3 more attacks

Three more people have been attacked in the park since Friday. The latest incident happened Monday morning before dawn, when a man was bitten on the leg around 5:30 a.m. PT on the seawall near Second Beach.

On Friday at 6 a.m. a runner was bitten near Lost Lagoon and at 9 p.m. on the same day, a coyote bit a man walking on the seawall under the Lions Gate Bridge.

Rosa said some of the attacks could be due to coyotes getting accustomed to food being left in garbage cans, so collection times will be increased.

For a few months now the B.C. Conservation Service has been asking the public to stay out of the park after dark, but that's been difficult to enforce over such a large, sprawling area, Rosa said.

"If you are going to the aquarium, a restaurant of an attraction, go directly there," she added.

"Please respect that the park is closed for your own safety."

Anyone who witnesses anyone feeding coyotes is asked to call the B.C. Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

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