June 14th, 2024

Resident fears for kids as coyotes appear to have at least one den in Connaught area

By Gillian Slade on July 13, 2018.

A young coyote pup observed from a residence in the Connaught area on Thursday morning. There are now concerns that one or two dens exist with as many as four or five adults and three pups. The city is trying to locate the dens and will consult with Alberta Fish and Wildlife on how to address this issue.--SUBMITTED PHOTO


Not addressing the problem of coyotes in the Connaught area could result in disaster, warns a resident.

“My biggest fear is the coyotes attacking a small child in the area,” said Gary Leis, mentioning two parks where children play. “Regrettably, nothing will be done until something bad happens.”

Leis says he sees coyotes three or four times a day. He believes there are four or five adult coyotes with three pups living behind his house, possibly in two different dens.

Years ago there was probably just one coyote, he said.

“The coyotes are becoming more and more aggressive each day. They have no fear of humans or to dogs,” said Leis. “They no longer get scared off from loud noises or from throwing rocks at them. I have seen them chase and try to lure dogs deeper into the high grass. They also walk right behind dogs on leashes through the green belt.”

This may indicate the coyotes are becoming more comfortable in the area, said Dave Genio, superintendent of parks maintenance.

Recently the city posted coyote alert notices along Primrose Drive and around the Connaught Golf course to warn residents of sightings of coyotes. At the time there was no indication of a den or coyote family in that area but this has now changed.

On Thursday, following an investigation, Genio said there is the possibility of one or more dens and staff are trying to locate these.

“Of course when animals are in a den situation, they are attempting to protect their young so might become a little bit more aggressive,” said Genio, noting additional warning signs would be going up.

Possible reactions include permissible control through Alberta Environment and Parks and/or keeping people away from the immediate danger area, he said. Relocating coyotes could simply mean leaving the territory open for other coyotes to move in.

“It leaves a vacancy for others to fill,” said Genio.

Any decision on how to handle the situation would involve Alberta Fish and Wildlife regarding what is permissible in terms of “removal or relocation,” said Genio.

The main reason coyotes have been attracted to the area is likely an available food source combined with less human contact, said Genio. Coyotes would even be attracted to fruit fallen from a tree, accessible garbage and other small animals, such as rabbits and gophers. To deter other coyotes from the area would mean ensuring the initial attraction is gone.

It is very unlikely that coyotes will attack humans, said Genio. If they did it would be in defence, perhaps near the den or where their young are.

The coyote alert notices say if you encounter a coyote you should respond aggressively, trying to appear large, waving your arms above your head. Throw rocks, sticks and other objects, maintain eye contact and shout in a deep voice. Back away slowly, do not run, as this may encourage them to chase you.

People are reminded to keep dogs on a leash, and to not allow cats to roam freely outside. If you see a coyote, the notice advises, you should pick up your dog if it is a small one and back away slowly.

According to a city press release on Thursday, coyote alert signs have also gone up in the area near the Family Leisure Centre, as well.

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