A renewed warning this spring for Saskatoon residents to keep their pets close. Signs have now been set-up at six different parks throughout the city, warning people of coyote activity in the area.
According to city officials, the wild animals are generally pretty harmless and attacks on people rare.
“This is the first I heard about it, seeing the sign,” Bob Good said, who had brought his grandchildren to Meadowlark Park for some fresh air in the Adelaide Churchill area.
He said he wasn’t too concerned about a wildlife encounter and hadn’t seen or heard any coyotes in the area in recent weeks.
“I don’t believe there’s many around,” Good said.
City officials say they don’t really have a good sense of Saskatoon’s urban coyote population and for the most part, you wouldn’t even know they’re there.
“We’re coming into the denning season and in the denning season they may seek more secluded areas of the city,” Jeff Boone, supervisor of pest management with the city, said.
“Throughout the winter, we’ll get them in pretty much every residential neighbourhood and many of our parks.”
The only time they may come too close for comfort, said Boone, is when a pet is off its leash.
“It’s usually a territorial response to dogs coming close to that den site and they can get aggressive in those situations so very, very important for people to keep their dogs on a leash and always be aware that there’s lots of wildlife in the city.”
Among the list of precautions people should take, and perhaps the most important, is to never feed them.
“It habituates the animals to people, they get more used to and comfortable with people and that’s the kind of behaviour we don’t want to see,” Boone said.
“Doing the opposite being big, bad and loud and sort of scaring the animal is actually a good thing as opposed to the opposite behavior which is feeding them.”
If you spot a coyote, report it to the city’s parks division by calling 306-975-3300 so they can let residents know an animal is in the area. They will also respond differently if a coyote is being aggressive, is in distress or is diseased.