The coordinator of a coyote-awareness program says that without increased funding, the number of human-coyote encounters is going to go up in places like Burnaby, Surrey, and Coquitlam.
On May 16, Metro Vancouver’s environment and parks committee recommended declining a $19,000 funding request from the Stanley Park Ecology Society to expand its Co-Existing with Coyotes educational program throughout the area.
In 2011, the program—after nine years of successful educational programs (including communication materials, presentations, and workshops for schools) to prevent conflicts between humans, pets, and coyotes—lost provincial funding. Since then, it has been supported by the park board and school program fees.
According to the Stanley Park Ecology Society, the annual cost to operate the program is between $55,000 and $61,000; the SPES anticipates that $36,000 will come from the park board and $6,000 from society service fees and programs. The remaining (up to) $19,000 was the denied funding.
Program coordinator Dan Straker said that between 2006 and 2009, four children received coyote bites in Surrey and Coquitlam, while in Vancouver proper, where the educational program exists, no attacks occurred.
He added that coyotes tend to frequent places like golf courses and cemeteries, where there are few people and from where they can go hunting in surrounding neighborhoods.
Data from the Co-Existing with Coyotes Program show that 1,159 reports of coyote sightings were made in the past 18 months all over Metro Vancouver.