Stanley Park is reopening for full access by humans after limitations were imposed in response to numerous conflicts arising between humans and coyotes over this past year.
Since December, over 40 incidents of coyotes nipping or biting people have been reported.
In early September, the Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations Ministry had planned to cull up to 35 coyotes, according to CBC News.
But the Vancouver Park Board announced today (September 21) that it will lift all restrictions on public use of Stanley Park, effective immediately.
All trails have been reopened to the public and the overnight park closure (which began on July 30 due to fire risk concerns but was extended due to human-coyote conflicts) has ended.
The park board will remove fencing and trail closure signage.
A total of 11 coyotes were killed—according to the park board, four coyotes were captured and “lethally removed” and, before the trappings, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service had killed seven coyotes in response to specific incidents.
Although the park board stated that wildlife experts believe there are still a “small number of coyotes” in the park and the “immediate threat to humans has been addressed”, park visitors are advised to take precautions if they encounter a coyote.
While the park board acknowledges that the coyote population will grow in the future, it is focusing on human actions and “looking to the public to help keep wildlife wild by changing certain behaviours that are known to have contributed to this highly disturbing and unprecedented situation, to ensure it does not happen again”.
Meanwhile, the park board will be educating the public about respecting and sharing outdoor spaces with wildlife, including not feeding them (which is prohibited under provincial regulations) and taking foodwaste home or disposing it in waste bins, such as in the newly installed wildlife-proof bins designed to reduce food attractants.
In addition, park board staff members are also reviewing current bylaws for feeding wildlife and are seeking enforcement capabilities.
Anyone can report feeding of coyotes or aggressive coyote behavior by calling the B.C. Conservation Officer Service RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.
The park board advises that anyone who encounters a coyote should face the animal, make themselves appear large by standing tall with arm outstretched, speaking loudly and making noise (without screaming), and avoid running.