June 20th, 2024

City discovers coyote dens, but the animals have moved on

By Gillian Slade on August 1, 2018.


gslade@medicinehatnews.com 
@MHNGillianSlade

The city has identified two coyote dens in the Connaught area.

“Right now we’ve found them to not be active dens, which could possibly mean that the coyotes, the young, no longer require dens and are out doing more hunting,” said Dave Genio, superintendent of parks maintenance.

With dens no longer active, the focus shifts to finding where the coyotes are most active. One area being monitored is the coulee and trail next to Marlborough.

The News reported more than a week ago of a small dog carried off in the mouth of a coyote in the coulees while out for a walk with its owner. The coyote eventually dropped the dog after being pursued by the owner, and it survived.

Coyotes have been seen crossing College Drive between Marlborough and Connaught, said Genio. The area is attractive to coyotes because there is a source of water and small wildlife to eat.

The city has had a number of “coyote alert” notices in the Connaught area for more than a month.

Cameras have been in place for a couple weeks. These helped to identify the dens, but little actual coyote activity.

“So now we’re looking at where have they gone,” said Genio.

In some respect it lessens the danger for people because the adult coyotes are no longer defending their young, he explained.

“We still think there is a fair amount of activity in that Connaught area and that’s where the most human traffic is occurring of course, because of the amount of residents,” said Genio.

This week there was a media report of three young children in Montreal being bitten by coyotes. There were no details about the circumstances.

“We don’t want to have the situation happen here,” said Genio.

The health of coyotes may have played a part in Montreal.

“If they are healthy they are less likely to take the next step and go in after humans, or even think of doing that, or getting more aggressive,” said Genio.

The coyotes spotted on camera in the Connaught area appear to be healthy, he said.

The city continues to monitor the area. After discussing the situation with Alberta Fish and Wildlife they have some possibilities on how to move forward in determining whether some method of control is necessary locally, said Genio. This city is not delaying making a decision but needs more time to determine what is necessary, he explained.

“We have to look as both sides. Is it beneficial to control the coyotes or let them naturally do what they do,” asked Genio.

If the city intervenes it could result in the younger ones mating sooner, said Genio.

“It can actually increase the population because they feel threatened,” he said.

There are precautions the public should take. Dogs out for a walk should be on a leash. If you encounter a coyote, respond aggressively with shouting and then back away slowly. Residents should ensure garbage is securely stored in bins. Pick up dog feces because these can attract coyotes.

The News has left numerous messages for Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers in the past few weeks requesting comment on the coyote situation. None of the calls have been returned.

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