Edmonton – Residents of a north Edmonton neighbourhood are concerned about a growing number of coyotes moving into the area.
The cry of a coyote is an unsettling sound for resident Cindy Davis.
“It’s just that the coyotes have become so brave and when they’re across the street from you, when you’re getting in your car at six in the morning, it’s very intimidating, and I’m actually scared,” says Davis.
Davis and neighbour Natt Karacsay say there has been an increase of coyotes in the community.
“They’ll be sitting out in the open and you can walk within ten feet of them and they won’t even move,” says Karacsay.
University of Alberta grad student Maureen Murray says the animals apparent bravery is because they have learned to co-exist with people and live in the city.
“Instead of mainly eating rodents and rabbits and fruit – which they mainly do in cities – they also incorporate human food, like garbage, some pets and compost,” explains Murray.
Davis and Karacsay say someone has been feeding the coyotes, which is a major concern for the two residents who both have small pets.
“That’s not illegal, but it does go against a bit of common sense because what you’re doing is attracting and habituating animals to an area,” says peace officer Greg Komarniski, Park Ranger Unit Leader.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers say coyotes are part of our ecosystem as well as our environment.
“We want to make sure that those animals are safe, as well as, if they’re suffering then we will respond to make sure that they’re taken care of and ultimately if theres a public safety issue,” says Fish and Wildlife officer Adrian Marr.
Coyotes can be territorial, especially near their dens. Coyotes are born in the spring so by the fall they are ready to leave and find new territory which is why researchers say it’s important to maintain and reinforce their fear of humans.
“If you see a coyote and it doesn’t seem very afraid, yell at it, throw things in its direction, really make it not welcome, and we hope that will go a long way,” advices Murray.
Both the City of Edmonton and Alberta Fish and Wildlife say education is imperative to living peacefully with the animals.
Davis and Karacsay aren’t convinced that’s enough.
“We’ll arm ourselves with a golf club sometimes if we’re alone,” says Davis.
Call the coyote information hotline at (780) 644-3574 for more information about coyotes in Edmonton.
With files from Global News Shannon Greer
© Shaw Media, 2013