A measure introduced earlier this summer to protect Stanley Park from fires is now continuing on for a different reason: ongoing conflicts between humans and coyotes.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) stated that three more attacks by coyotes on people, including two children, took place in Stanley Park yesterday (August 31).
The incidents included:
- a four-year-old child, walking with their parents, bitten near Brockton Oval around 5 p.m.;
- a second four-year-old child bitten while walking with a parent near the Nine O’Clock Gun around 9 p.m.;
- a man bitten from behind near the southwest park entrance by Lost Lagoon around 9:30 p.m.
The BCCOS stated that all of the victims sustained minor injuries.
On August 31, officers killed one coyote, which the BCCOS stated had showed signs of “food habituation”—it showed no fear of people and approached officers who were shaking a container of food.
In addition to attacks in previous weeks, other incidents have occurred over the past week:
- a runner was bitten near Lost Lagoon around 6 a.m. on August 27;
- a man walking along the seawall near the Lions Gate Bridge was bitten around 9 p.m. on August 27;
- a man sustained injuries after being bitten on his leg by a coyote along the seawall near Second Beach around 5:30 a.m. on August 30.
Stanley Park overnight closure
The Vancouver Park Board had announced on August 31 that it is temporarily extending the closure of Stanley Park to all non-essential access between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
This closure was originally implemented on July 30 due to reduce potential fires during a period of extreme dryness, high temperatures, and high risk of fire.
Park rangers will patrol the park during the closures and will also be at four access points to the park overnight to limit non-essential vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians trying to enter the park. Seawall access will be closed but the causeway will remain open.
The access-point locations are:
- traffic circle off Georgia Street;
- corner of Barclay Street and Park Lane;
- the north and south exits of the Stanley Park Causeway (closures in effect from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.).
The Vancouver Park Board, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, the Stanley Park Ecology Society, and the B.C. Forest Ministry are working together to address the human conflicts with coyotes in the park.
“At this point, a number of options are on the table and our focus remains on removing attractants and influencing public behaviour to ensure direct and indirect feeding of coyotes and other wildlife comes to a stop,” Vancouver Park Board general manager Donnie Rosa stated in a news release. “In the last week alone we have removed 1,000 kgs of garbage from the park, secured animal-proof garbage cans that will be installed shortly, and printed 96 new signs to be installed at key locations where the majority of coyote incidents are taking place.”
Anyone who encounters a coyote is advised to face the coyote, make yourself big by standing tall with outstretched arms, don’t run, and speak loudly and make noise (without screaming). More tips can be found at the BCCOS website.
The park board is reminding everyone that feeding all wildlife—including coyotes, raccoons, birds, and other animals—in the park is “strictly prohibited”.
Any aggressive behavior or wildlife feeding can be reported to B.C.s’ Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-7277.
Animal-rights lawyer Rebeka Breder and Fur-Bearers executive director Lesley Fox had previously recommended that the park should be closed while animal experts determine what is happening, and they pointed out that the unusual coyote behavior has taken place after the disappearance and return of human presence in certain ecosystems due to COVID-19 restrictions.